Left – Zoe Boesen and Tim Potter. Cover – Ngaire Dawn Fair, Zoe Boesen and Tim Potter. Photos – Jodie Hutchinson
There are so many excruciatingly familiar home truths in My Romantic History (by Scottish playwright DC Jackson) that if it weren’t so damn funny it would be almost unbearable. The play won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival, has been produced all over the UK and it isn't hard to see why.
Amy and Tom are work colleagues who share what might have been left as a drunken one night stand, had they been ten years younger. The pair’s emotional fumblings and ill-informed doings as well as a ton of other characters are hilariously played out by the talented cast of three (Tim Potter, Zoe Boesen and Ngaire Dawn Fair), who leap about from one identity to another in time and place, telling a tale of not only Tom and Amy's current relationship but those from the past which have bearing on the present. Uniquely, we get the two perspectives in the story, Tom's then Amy's, and see how different scenarios are interpreted in the light of each character's own history. No interaction is neutral, there is no such thing as a clean slate and this clever play brings this to light using a singular humour.
The play is succinctly adapted to Australian culture with familiar settings and references lending it a Melbourne sensibility. The play teems with characters but the actors are so talented there is no trouble distinguishing them. Moving from a bogan dildo wielding boyfriend to a Scottish grandmother, Ngaire Dawn Fair just needs to flick an eyebrow or deliver a quick smirk to transform herself completely; she's one of those amazingly expressive actors who radiates a particular charm of her own. Tim Potter is superb as Tom who manages to redeem his unlikeable self as the story progresses, and Zoe Boesen's pragmatic Amy is familar to all of us as the 30 year old who's suddenly, uncomfortably, the only single one left amongst her friends.
The set is funny in its own right: three dunnies which double as office cubicles, cupboards, cars and kitchens.
The universality and honesty of the young couple’s compromises are illustrated with immense wit. This play bristles and glows, the one-liners make you gasp, squirm and nearly wet yourself. Here is an elegant and truly funny production with outstanding performances, a real triumph for Red Stitch and a fantastic opener for their second seaon.
Red Stitch Actors Theatre present
My Romantic History
by D.C. Jackson
Directed by David Whiteley
Venue: Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda
Dates: 13 July – 13 August, 2011
Times: Wednesday – Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6.30pm
Matinees: Saturday July 23, 30 and August 6, 13 at 4pm
Tickets: $20.00 - $34.00 ($15.00 student rush)
Bookings: www.redstitch.net (discounted tix) | 03 9533 8083