Love Me Tender | Thin Ice
Playwright Tom Holloway has loosely based the play on the Euripides' Greek tragedy Iphigenia in Aulis. In that play, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter so that his troops can set sail; preserve their honour and battle against Troy.
It is the key theme of father / daughter relationship and sacrifice that Holloway draws on in Love Me Tender. He also cites the Black Saturday bushfires and the current debate about sex in teen culture as inspiration. Five adults stand in an emulated backyard (an odd shaped fake grassed area) and talk in fits and starts and train of thought monologues about the girl and society, incest, death, fires, sex and hoofs and fur.
Kris McQuade and Arky Michael open the piece, jumping around the stage like writers brainstorming a TV drama. They create scenarios with words, playing and teasing the story out in long, slow, and occasionally excruciatingly tedious moments. They create the story of a Father (Colin Moody), Mother (Belinda McClory) and daughter (who is never seen) and their life together and the issues they face. Rounding out the cast is Luke Hewitt as the other ensemble member.
The set design by Adam Gardnir was impressive, primarily due to the unusual shape of the raised stage and use of grass and smoke / dew effects. Simple and subtle lighting (Karen Norris) was highly effective in highlighting performers and adding to the harshness of the piece. Kelly Ryall’s sound design was ever present in the background, and although frustratingly unintelligible, it was definitely disconcerting.
Because of the style, and perhaps direction, there is a lack of depth to the characters / performers, and the disjointed style gets tiring after a while. The whole production is unsettling, and I found it hard to connect or feel emotionally involved in the characters.
Whilst thematically powerful, there are elements (such as connection with the audience) that are lacking in Love Me Tender that would make it go from interesting to outstanding.
ThinIce, Company B Belvoir and Griffin Theatre Company present in association with PICA as part of the Perth International Arts Festival
Love Me Tender
by Tom Holloway
Directed by Matthew Lutton
Venue: PICA, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge
Dates: 20 February - 6 March 2010
Times: Mondays @ 6.30pm, Tues to Sat @ 8pm.
Matinees: Feb 27 and March 6 @ 2pm
Tickets: Standard $30 / Concession $20 / Previews $25 | $10 Tuesdays - all tickets $10
Bookings: PICA 08 9228 6300 or pica.org.au
Venue: Belvoir St Theatre
Dates: 18 March - 11 April 2010
Bookings/Info: www.griffintheatre.com.au or www.belvoir.com.au