[2012075] L.O.V

[2012075] L.O.V

The Chiral Collective @ Queen’s Theatre 2

3:00pm, Sat 3 Mar 2012

As I leave the Main Theatre at AC Arts after Executive Stress / Corporate Retreat, I realise there’s a tiny chance I could squeeze in another shortlisted show; I just had to make it across Light Square in ninety seconds. With a bit of traffic-dodging (and a thankfully late start), I found myself gulping air (then water) as I slid into my seat as the house lights dropped.

What followed was a patchy deliberation of male intimacy, which intended to portray the fractured relationships between boy/man James and his father, alongside the peer-driven mateship of three friends (as James is joined by Max and Ali). When James and Ali are drawn into a fight that ends in the death of another, leading to James’ imprisonment for manslaughter, relationships are strained by the expectations of silence that the stereotypical mateship infers. James’ release from prison, and the contrast between characters over the duration of his incarceration, brings those relationships into stark relief…

Whilst the premise of the play is simple enough, its production is patchy – largely due to an uneven script that regularly swaps between the (amazing!) poetic delivery of inner monologues, to the clumsy (and even amateurish) dialogue between characters. There’s a bit of confusion initially as Fabio Motta plays both James’ father and Max, but Motta was (by far) the best actor on stage, and managed to carry the two roles. But as a central character, Joseph Appleton’s Ali left a bit to be desired, with no real emotion behind his delivery… making the denouement, in which the seemingly powerful bonds of friendship and trust are shattered in an inexplicable instant, all the more unbelievable.

L.O.V has an idea about what it’s trying to achieve, but seems to get lost somewhere along the way. What starts out as a reasonably straightforward look at the social confines of male relationships is let down by an ending which is absolutely unbelievable, and almost completely out of character. Maybe a different performer could have carried the closing scenes in a more credible manner, but I suspect it’s more a case of an awkward script that didn’t quite know how to wrap itself up.

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