Review: Kiss Of The Gallery Guard (Scene Theatre Sydney)

Venue: Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Hall (Walsh Bay NSW), May 11 – 26, 2018
Playwright: Carol Dance
Director: Murray Lambert
Cast: Justin Amankwah, Jesse Northam, Chloe Schwank, Cara Severino
Images by John Leung

Theatre review
After making the local news in less than dignified fashion, Amber leaves her rural town in shame, and lands a job in a city art gallery. Carol Dance’s Kiss Of The Gallery Guard asks if it is possible for the leopard to change its spots, and through its own discussions about the ever evolving meanings of art, the play looks at the constantly mutating quality of human nature, in relation to art objects that are characterised as stable and inanimate.

It is a concept worthwhile of exploration, but Kiss Of The Gallery Guard has a plot structure that tends to be overly tangential, with a writing style that mature audiences will find too expositional. Performers for the show are not short of conviction, although their exaggerated approach can interfere with the authenticity that they attempt to bring to the narrative. Cara Severino is a delightful presence as Amber, impressive with the detail she brings to the role, even if the excessively animated mode of presentation is a blemish.

The ephemeral nature of theatre, is what sets it apart from other art forms. A work can always be revisited, revised and remounted, and no two shows can ever be exactly the same. People will grow, and artists will transform. Much as we are inclined to hold unshifting opinions about others, we also know that the world is a surprising place, and people will always have the potential to evade underestimations.