300 million years ago we were all connected in a single supercontinent called Pangaea. 200 million years ago that same supercontinent began to break up and drift apart, scattering its inhabitants to either end of the ocean and rendering us disconnected, disjointed and with the knowledge the somewhere on the other side of the globe was home.
Rajiv Joseph's play, All this Intimacy takes this idea of connection and subsequent disconnection and plants it in the modern world, where bonds are formed through social media and torn as easily as a condom.
I bring up contraception as it is the premise of the play. The somewhat emotionally stunted poet Ty, (Scott Major, Neighbours) has had the vast misfortune to impregnate three women in the space of "a nine-day period." The sheer ludicrously of this notion is the driving force behind the humor in an otherwise terrible situation. The women in question are Ty's girlfriend Jen, (Joanne Redfearn) neighbor, (Georgia Bolton) and student Becca (Debbie Zukerman). Faced with an impossible situation, Ty takes the madman/cowards way out and invites all three women along with Jen's sister Franny (Celeste Markwell) and his best friend Seth (Nathan Strauss, who you may remember as "Jason" from the RACV commercials) to dinner where he plans to tell them all at once of the unique predicament he has landed them in.
What happens next is a hysterical display of angry women and indirect humor. It's a case of "if we don't laugh we'll cry" as disbelief turns to fury.
Director Andrew Prowse has taken the unrealistic plot and turned it into an honest and heartbreakingly real event. Writer Joseph's unlikable characters are so appalling simply because they are so relatable. While the plot sometimes borders on the ridiculous the humanness of the actors brings the story back down to earth, finding the moments of desire, pain and hope within the madness.
For the actors the pace never drops and at times it appears they are running to keep up with Joseph's script and doing a damn good job of it.
All this intimacy is a play for anyone who's ever faced their worst nightmare, and then realised how much more unpleasant it can get. Credit should be given to the entire cast, in particular Zuckerman, whose characterization of the "Y Generation" was alarmingly spot on with her constant word abbreviations and desperate attempts to impress her teacher (Major).
However, it is the last moments that are most poignant, as Ty greets his remorse with open arms and the audience's laughter is silenced. For it's not funny anymore. Like Pangaea, Ty is no longer connected to his home, and his heart lies on the other side of the world too far out of reach for him to shorten the distance and once again be complete.
All this intimacy is a solid piece of theatre, more fun than a soap opera on speed and backed by a stellar cast of Aussie favourites, well worth the admission price and a great night out.
All this Intimacy
by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Andrew Prowse
Venue: Loft Theatre | Chapel off Chapel, Little Chapel St, Prahran
Dates: 23 Feb – 11 March, 2012
Bookings: 03 8290 7000