Loved up in lock down lasts as long as the first knock down in Videotape.
Quarantining coz of Covid, Daniel and Juliette are ready to cosy down for some serious self iso together. He has his lap top, she has her books and art materials, and they have each other. They are the quintessential beautiful young couple co-habitating in a fab pad.
Nowhere near driving each other nuts, they suddenly suffer an anachronistic shock. A VHS video tape is delivered to their apartment. Of course they have no appliance on which to play or screen it but their curiosity is mightily piqued as to what is recorded on the tape and so Daniel acquires a VCR and old TV set to quench their curiosity.
Oddly, what appears on the tape is images of them, recent ones, taken in the apartment during lock down. Another video tape arrives and it’s more of the same, or similar.
Creepy scenario leads to creeping tensions and Daniel lashes out, physically abusing Juliette. The next video tape to arrive presents a loop of the assault.
Written & Directed by Saro Lusty-Cavallari, Videotape owes more than a passing nod and a wink to The Ring cycle of films, and the audience is savvy that with each cassette someone gets closer to a casket.
Something of a twilight nostalgia zone for Millennials flirts fleetingly with issues of male entitlement and social divide but Videotape is more interested in building a sequence of unease.
Jake Fryer-Hornsby and Lucinda Howes service the script as Daniel and Juliette, the pair of – in VHS era speak – yuppies; he a Trust fund funded Scots College lad, she resigned to relinquish any real sense of fiscal equality. She vocalises that their relationship is a partnership, but he pays parity lip service, a conceit unveiled in a vicious tongue lashing threatening eviction in one explosive scene.
Laura Djanegara pops up with a funny cameo in superfluous epilogue as some sort of no nonsense grief counsellor.
Set Design by Grace Deacon is elegant and functional in the Kings X Theatre’s traverse stage and the largely profile staging works well as both performers and audience get glued to the box in anticipation of the latest apparition.
Montague Basement presents
by Saro Lusty-Cavallari
Director Saro Lusty-Cavallari
Venue: KXT | Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel, 244-246 William St, Potts Point NSW
Dates: 29 January – 13 February, 2021
Tickets: $42 – $20