Review: Expiration Date (Meraki Arts Bar)

Venue: Meraki Arts Bar (Darlinghurst NSW), Apr 27 – May 13, 2023
Playwright: Lana Filies
Director:
Lily Hayman
Cast: Lana Filies, Flynn Mapplebeck
Images by Clare Hawley

Theatre review

A man and a woman are trapped in a lift, and because they had been romantic partners not too long ago, this moment of serendipitous awkwardness imposes upon them, an occasion of confrontation that neither would have volunteered to undergo.

Lana Filies’ Expiration Date is a 50-minute two-hander containing themes that are admittedly of great concern to many of us, but presented with dialogue that is more than slightly tinged with a soap opera style parochialism, the play will perhaps not be to everyone’s tastes.

Direction for the piece is provided by Lily Hayman, who imbues an urgent energy, that insists on our undivided attention. Design work by Tyler Fitzpatrick is minimal in approach, but rendered with an impressive sense of finesse, that gives the staging precisely what it needs, for its story to be told.

Filies plays the woman in Expiration Date, excessively animated in initial scenes, but able to deliver a convincing realism when it matters. Portraying the man, is Flynn Mapplebeck who brings a contrasting effortlessness to the comedy, with a natural charisma and a quirky blitheness, that help with¬† the show’s entertainment value.

We are at a point of evolution where many can become our own persons, of lives commensurate with our own dreams and ambitions, without having to comply with age old notions of marital relationships. No longer do all of us have to make traditional choices in order to survive, yet there is something maybe biological, or maybe social, that seems to want to turn us into conformist creatures, that makes us pine for all that is pervasive, conventional and ordinary. Circumstances have changed for many, yet only a few will ever take the road less travelled.

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