Review: Masterclass 2 – Flames Of The Forge (Red Line Productions)

redlineVenue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), Jan 12 – 30, 2016
Playwrights: Gareth Davies, Charlie Garber
Directors: Gareth Davies, Charlie Garber
Cast: Gareth Davies, Charlie Garber

Theatre review
In order for artists to embark upon a creative endeavour, they have to locate a certain level of self-belief. This may or may not be justified, or even essentially real, but a kind of confidence needs to be present for potent expression to occur, and actors especially, must be able to cultivate a layer of thick skin in order that they may present their work to the public with any conviction at all. Some have to try harder than others to attain that quality of egotism, but in Masterclass 2, Gareth Davies and Charlie Garber put on unhinged arrogance to provide comical insight into the theatrical process, and behind that false bravado, allow themselves to manufacture an hour of amusing and intelligent reflections on their art form.

The piece has a playful and silly façade, but there is something covertly sophisticated about their approach. Surprising nuance and obtuse concepts betray their unassuming style of delivery. There is a genuine spirit of adventure in Masterclass 2 that makes it more meaningful and elevated than what it claims to be; there is a lot of self-deprecation in how the characters articulate themselves, but seeing through that sense of modesty will reveal thoughtful and intriguing ideas.

The live experience that Davies and Garber provide is full of chemistry and dramatic tautness. Along with Ross Graham’s lights, the show is compelling and always humorous, with captivating sequences that keep our senses bemused and our minds invigorated. It may be difficult to find personal affiliations with their subject matter, but strong performances ensure that we remain interested, at least for the duration.

Davies and Garber half-pretend to be geniuses in their field, and with that calculated and transparent mockery, their true talents are able to shine through. To get to the truth of experience, theatre uses falsities and deception so that we may come to a genuine understanding of our lives and our worlds. The comedy of Masterclass 2 points to something bigger and better than the things it chooses to talk about. Looking beyond its obfuscations is where the real rewards lie.