Review: The Naked Truth (Act IV Theatre)

activVenue: Blood Moon Theatre (Potts Point NSW), Apr 6 – 16, 2016
Playwright: Dave Simpson
Director: Ruth Fingret
Cast: Melanie Araya, Kaitlin de Lacy, Hayley Flowers, Jeannie Gee, Melinda Ryan, Wendy Winkler

Theatre review
A small group of women in Northern England sign up for a pole dancing class. They learn little about the art form, but end up with deep knowledge about themselves. Dave Simpson’s The Naked Truth is a classic British comedy, featuring colourful people, naughty jokes, ordinary adversities and a very feel good ending. The play is predictable in many ways, but its formula is tried and tested, and we cannot help but get drawn into its sentimentalities, and become emotionally invested into its various narratives of human drama. The bawdy jokes give an occasional edge that helps prevent it from becoming too sappy, with its humour cleverly positioned within the plot to create enjoyable mood fluctuations.

The cast of six is clearly dedicated and invigorated, but they struggle to find a naturalistic tone that the writing requires. Although the production is awkwardly stagy, admirable effort is put into its comedy. Kaitlin de Lacy and Melinda Ryan especially, hit many of their punchlines effectively, delivering big laughs and delighting us with their enthusiastic portrayals of larger than life women. Jeannie Gee as Sarah gives the show a sense of authenticity, with sensitive moments that are truly touching, and Melania Araya’s gravity-defying skills on the pole are simply staggering.

The women in The Naked Truth hold each other up, in spite of all their differences. They each make their individual life choices, and have encountered dissimilar obstacles, but with the strength of their sisterhood, are able to find ways to provide support for one another. It is a poignant story about how people can live in love and harmony, without having to conform and assimilate. It encourages each person to embrace their own uniqueness, and shows us how to appreciate others for their idiosyncrasies; a lesson which is probably the most important thing to learn in these days of fracture and pervasive segregation.