To quote Homer Simpson, "I love legitimate thee-ate-er"... and even more than that I love "legitimate thee-ate-er" with full frontal male nudity (hello, how shallow am I?).
Tonight was the second in my Feast trilogy... Blowing Whistles.
I'm suddenly wondering if I should have left this review until tomorrow... I'm not sure I've completely digested (and isn't that a lovely turn of phrase) the play yet... it still feels very much all up in my head.
That's the difference for me between movies and theatre... don't get me wrong, I love movies (obviously)... but with theatre, especially in a very small and intimate place like The Bakehouse Theatre, and doubly so when you're sitting in the second row (I need to sit in the first row next week, no matter what)... the whole experience just feels incredibly personal. You're living and breathing and (at one point, thanks to a can of deoderant) smelling the experience. And when it's a story that turns out to be quite effecting... well, let's just say that I'm finding it a little hard to shake.
The crowd for this was completely different to the one at Another Gay Movie, younger, more mixed... and less brash than Friday... whether it was just the different between a movie and a play or a Friday and a Thursday, I don't know... plus I ran into J's friend, J2 who was there with some people. And I think I saw Michael Harry who writes for the Advertiser... if it was him, he's pretty cute!
But getting back to the play... where to start, where to start...
Okay, stealing from the play's promotional materials, Blowing Whistles is a story about "being gay, being in love, little white lies and internet dating. Nigel and Jamie are a long-term couple in an open relationship. On the eve of their tenth anniversary (and the Mardi Gras party) they go cruising online and meet 'Cumboy_17'. The next 24 hours changes three lives forever."
Originally it was set in London, which shows in a couple of spots... very minor ones I have to say (mostly tiny bits of language more than anything else), although one of the final lines of the play lost a tiny bit of punch to me because it's set around Mardi Gras instead of English Pride (saying "I told you I'd show you gay pride" isn't quite as effective when you haven't been talking about Captial P Pride for most of the play).
It's a gay play (obviously)... but whether the three actors involved are gay or not, I have no idea... if I had to guess I would say that Cumboy_17/Mark (local boy, Lachlan Mantell) is, Jamie (Neil Phipps... that's him in the image at the top) could have been and Nigel (Lindsay Moss) wasn't... but what do I know.
Like I said, the play features full frontal male nudity (woohoo)... most of which is Mark (interestingly, there seemed to be more of a gasp when he came out in the second half shirtless and slightly damp than when he came out buck naked and seemingly semi-hard in the first half... not sure what that was about... maybe I had a moment of total sensory overload when he appeared naked and I didn't hear anything), although the other two do get their gear off briefly right before the off-stage sex scene.
And Lachlan Mantell is SPECTACULAR when naked... all moulded torso and, while not donkey-cocked, it was very beautiful... and did I mention kinda semi-hard. Unlike Brenton, I didn't have a problem with him playing "bi curious white trash" with shaved pubes, blonde highlights and a spray tan (because you just know that blonde, tanned trailer trash like partyboy Corey Whathisface would TOTALLY shave his pubes whether he was into boys or not)... although maybe the tan had faded a little and he looked like he had could have had some pubes... either way, it didn't bother me... especially since I took the "bi curious" statement he makes as him lying to both Jamie and Nigel as well as himself. And even when he was dressed (or half dressed) he was the hotness... the character is all low slung jeans and visible underwear (which I like)... but you could have put Lachlan in a hessian sack and he still would have been sexy.
Although his character was kind of annoying (partially because I've seen or read profiles or come into contact, in my younger days, with boys like Mark... and I know the type) so my brain did that thing where somebody becomes slightly less attractive to me when I don't like their personality (not that I would have kicked Mark/Lachlan's shoes out from under my bed, but you know what I'm getting at).
But if I'm being honest it was the character of Jamie that I really fell in love with. He's a little dorky, a little queeny, has this cute little belly thing going on and was just sweet. He turned into the kind of character who I just wanted to hug and make it all better.
And he needed to have it all made better... the first half of the play is HILARIOUSLY funny (mostly from Jamie's one-liners and the whole sexcapades thing... plus, hello, penis), but after the intermission it took a much more dark and serious turn. Sure there were some funny bits here and there, but there was much more yelling and angst going on. And that's probably why it's crawled into my head so much... not that I've ever gone through that, but because it activated the White Knight in me, and I wanted to rescue Jamie. Tragic I know.
When it was all over we gave them about three curtain calls, and that was that...
All in all though... I laughed, I very nearly cried, I saw doodle... it was a quality night out!