fringe: decadence

adelaide fringe: decadence
Decadence... moral or cultural decline as characterised by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.

Decadence is two actors, one couch, four characters from the wicked excesses of 80's England and dense, thick, oozing language... words soaked in alcohol, slathered in butter and devoured by Katherine Shearer and Rowan McDonald only to have the visceral, vulgar prose seep from their pores.

A man meets his mistress, his wife meets her lover... the former are upper class, old money, brittle... the latter are nouveau riche, libidinous, homicidal.

Shearer and McDonald switch between characters without missing a beat... they slouch and swagger as the nouveau riche... only to stiffen and grow distainful as the upper class.

Any thread of plot throughout the play is only there in service of the language... words are everything here and the majority of the play takes place as monologues where rhyming couplets appear and disappear at will and the phrasing paints the most vivid of word pictures.

The text is by famous playwright and actor Steven Berkoff and it's clear that he appreciates the sound and rhythm of words as that's where this play lives and breathes.

It reminded me of Shakespeare quite a lot, just the way language is used for it's weight or sound as well as the use of rhymes and long speeches.

I especially loved the dining scene where Shearer mimes knocking back champagne while McDonald lists, in almost pornographic intensity, what the waiters should bring them to eat next.

This is definitely one of those plays that should be experienced first hand... for above all, it is an experience.

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