Review: Straight (Brilliant Adventures)

brilliantadventuresVenue: Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross NSW), Jun 16 – Jul 2, 2016
Playwright: D.C. Moore
Director: Shane Bosher
Cast: Danielle Cormack, Sean Hawkins, Simon London, Madeleine Jones

Theatre review
Lewis and Waldorf are old friends from university days, reunited several years after their lives have taken different turns. While intoxicated, they decide to make an amateur porn film with each other. Lewis is married, with a history of just 2 sexual partners, and the happily single Waldorf is more experienced with 71, but neither have had encounters with men. Based on the 2009 film Humpday by Lynn Shelton, D.C. Moore’s Straight is about transgression. It explores issues around the constraints of sexual identity, along with an investigation into boundaries of friendship, and takes a look at the rules of monogamy in modern marriages.

Taboos are confronted with a vehement directness in Straight, which locates our cosy assumptions of human sexuality and puts them through a series of thorough and provocative interrogations. The script is a gripping one, made even more enthralling by director Shane Bosher’s very effective delivery of plot tension and believability for what is actually an absurd context. A brilliantly awkward sense of humour permeates Moore’s consistently nuanced writing, but the production has an air of unrelenting seriousness that compromises its potential for comedy. The mischievous Danielle Cormack delivers the biggest number of laughs as Steph, and leaves an excellent impression even though the actor only appears once in an early scene. Also noteworthy is Madeleine Jones who performs the role of Morgan with excellent psychological accuracy and a sharp intuition.

Lead role Lewis is played by Simon London whose thoughtful and intelligent approach creates a character that we are able to connect with, in spite of his quite incredible decisions. Sean Hawkins is the charming Waldorf, who keeps proceedings buoyant with an unpredictable and aggressive energy. The two turn up the sexual heat in the show’s crucial moments, creating an exceptionally libidinous stage that many will find titillating, while some others will be left embarrassed. Their work demonstrates pure conviction, but it is the ambiguity of their characterisations that inspire the biggest questions.

Art is eternally preoccupied with sex as a topic because it is universal, and one that can be examined extensively, and ceaselessly. The diversity of individual experiences and the plurality of our beliefs mean that new perspectives can always be added to the ever-expanding discussion and hence, comprehension of the nature of sex. We however, live in societies that suppress these interchanges, so we become accustom to presuming an uniformity in our hidden sexualities. We fool ourselves into thinking that we know how other people do sex, and furthermore we often place those same limitations on our own individual sex lives. Straight is about people who give themselves a chance, and who dare to go into the unknown, in the voyage of self-discovery that we call life. It is about defining identities by first experiencing what one is not, before settling on what one is.

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