Review: This Boy’s In Love (Red Line Productions)

TBIL 1Venue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), May 26 – 31, 2015
Playwright: Adriano Cappelletta
Director: Johann Walraven
Cast: Adriano Cappelletta
Musical Director: Daryl Wallis

Theatre review
With any luck, Adriano Cappelletta’s This Boy’s In Love is going to be the last great play about gay life in Australia before same-sex marriage is made legal. Ado’s experiences and perspective as a gay man in Sydney are beautifully, and extremely honestly, documented in this one-man show reflecting life for thousands of individuals from a city in its final throes of inequality and bigotry. Ado is hungry for love like everyone else, but his desires face obstacles unique to metropolitan gay lives. Emerging from periods of oppression and persecution, Ado’s community suffers from dysfunctions, tragic and funny, many of which are fluently articulated in the work.

The piece breaks from conventional monologue formats to provide a theatre that is full of variety, in order to engage, entertain and indeed, educate. It takes frequent detours into sub-genres like cabaret, stand up and dance, and adopts hints of the absurd, so that its ninety minute duration never loses a moment of vibrancy. Director Johann Walraven identifies brilliantly, the many nuances in the text to create moments of surprising poignancy, and to make us fall for the protagonist more and more as the show progresses. As its performer, Cappelletta is generous in spirit, and unbelievably warm, striking a rapport with his crowd so solid, that we cannot help but be enthralled. The level of dynamism in his work is astounding at points, and we get completely absorbed into all his stories, silly or serious.

This Boy’s In Love is as perfect as a monologue can get for small theatre. The only way one can envision this production improved, is with greater investment and imagination into its design elements. Technical enhancements can make the show even stronger, but with what this team is able to assemble, it conveys its intentions perfectly. Love is hard to define. It can mean many different things, but starving anyone of it is cruel and certainly evil. For centuries, love has been defined in narrow heteronormative and religious forms, and in that process, many of us have suffered senselessly. Times have changed, and everyday, more are able to find emancipation. May the day come when sexual bigotry of all kinds in all places be eradicated.