Article Title:Review: Tangled, tainted and texted LUV
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:5th March 2008 - 11:42 pm
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Story ID:5666
Text:Morgama O'Reily as Gemma LUV. A play written and directed by Thomas Sainsbury. Performed by Todd Emerson, Stephen Fitzgibbon, Hannah Marshall and Morgana O'Reilly. On at The Basement (formerly The Silo Theatre), Auckland until Sunday 9 March (8pm each night - tickets $15 at the door) Here's a newly-written Kiwi comedy on stage featuring a young cast. No, wait, don't click away yet... this one's actually good. Beginning with some text-stalking, moving on to compulsive plastic surgery, then gay online dating, then fame-making reality TV hopes, this is a very contemporary script with a few characters and situations which might well remind you of twenty-somethings you know - though hopefully not too many! Ricky (Stephen Fitzgibbon) puts in a frantic performance as the aggressive texter, who gets creepier and creepier as the play continues. The seductive Gemma (Morgana O'Reilly) humiliates herself in her efforts get a league player to bed, but her hopeless quest ultimately provides her with new opportunities. Michelle's (Hannah Marshall) quest for flawless beauty ends in gory disaster and an emotional roller-coaster. And can the clichéd Jacques (Todd Emerson) carry a reality TV show on his experiences with guys he meets over the net? Tood Emerson as Jacques The male cast members do a good job, with Fitzgibbon keeping up the freaky energy well but dishing out lovely pathos at the play's climax. It's the girls who steal the show though, as two wonderful TV producer characters - I loved their comedy voices and over-the-top gesturing as they followed their vile 'talent' around. Experiencing this play on opening night, I sensed there were a few in-jokes thrown in for people in the local TV industry - they were warmly appreciated by the many actors in the audience but occasionally lost on me! There's an uncomfortable scene involving Gemma's treatment in the hands of the other league players which I thought was a little over-the-top for my delicate sensibilities - but the rest of the play was by turns interesting and hilarious. The climax reminded me of tonight's particularly-exciting Shortland Street episode (both involve cute guys who are psychos!), but the very end of the play is wonderfully generous and optimistic. I've seen many productions at The Silo theatre, and all have been worth the time spent in the low-ceilinged heat of the small, dark venue. Now the Silo crew have moved on and the space has been re-branded as The Basement, but if LUV is anything to go by, the quality of entertainment on offer has remained as high as ever. Witness love and lust at its most raw and painfully hilarious - fall for LUV, on until Sunday 9 March. Matt Akersten - 5th March 2008    
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