The 1/4 Pounding
BRAVE Theatre @ Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage
2:00pm, Sun 18 Mar 2012
It’s only now that I’ve really sat down to consider The 1/4 Pounding and, in doing so, have read the programme: “The Quarter Pounding is about the Quarter life crisis – a time in this generation’s lives that often begins after graduation where reality hits and expectations are followed by disappointment.” Suddenly I understood what the title was about – I had completely missed that!
Upon a simple stage – two mobile clothes racks, two boxes – we meet Julie and Rachel, two New Zealand Uni graduates who are struggling to find work and becoming increasingly despondent about their deteriorating bodies. They decide to go to England together – Kiwis are in demand in London, right? – but are immediately betrayed by the media-imposed unrealistic expectations of travel.
Once in England, there’s a collection of scenes that show the young women “living the dream” – sharing a tiny flat in dreary London, working terrible jobs, hitting the speed-dating scene, blowing their wages at tanning salons and pricey nightclubs. There’s occasional tension in the relationship – a tinge of jealousy when one becomes romantically involved – and some touching scenes that hint at homesickness. There’s also a travelogue of sorts, as they compare expectations with the reality of their trips to Paris, Rome, and Auschwitz.
Mel Dodge (previously seen in Jane Austen is Dead) and Nicola Colson are both fantastic in their roles – primarily as Julie and Rachel, respectively, but they often adopt the characters of other people they meet on their travels. Sure, it’s comic acting played for laughs… but it’s really good acting all-round. Will Harris’ direction is, likewise, superb – the simple set is used incredibly well, with the racks and boxes being easily rearranged to give a sense of space and character to individual scenes.
The 1/4 Pounding was a really beautiful comic experience… and, whilst I’m a (fair) bit past the age bracket of Julie and Rachel, i probably live a lot younger than I actually am – so it’s all immediately identifiable. Yes, it did make me regretful of my own mis-spent quarter-life activities; yes, it did make me pine for my youth again. But it also made me laugh and really feel for these characters… and it made me wonder how this generation – the Generation of Choices – is going to handle their increasing disenfranchisement as they age. Maybe they’ll grow into grumpy cynics like myself.