The Age


Author: Cameron Woodhead Reviewer
Date: 06/09/2011
Words: 271
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: News
Page: 15
Rating: 3.5/5 By Tom Pitts Attic Erratic, Gasworks Arts Park, Until September 10

ATTIC Erratic's new show is a complex exploration of the beauties and tensions of contemporary sexuality. The promiscuous Helen (Kaitlyn Clare) is intoxicated by the purity of sexual encounters with strangers.

Alan (James Deeth) believes the heart secretly rebels against sexual licence: it settles on one person, that's why the free love counterculture fell apart. Amiably, he offers to test his theory in Helen's bedroom.

Elizabeth (Vivienne Garnett) is engaged to a bore (Sam Lund), despite repressing feelings for another. Helen and Elizabeth are soon at loggerheads when Helen hooks up with Elizabeth's incurably romantic brother Michael (Nick Bendall). And Helen herself  in confronting her secretive, judgmental mother  comes to question the way she consumes lovers and casts them aside.

Though the play simplifies its sophisticated journey into post-industrial sex, it's a stimulating and talented work. Celeste Cody's direction nurtures convincing lead performances. Clare builds a presence as a woman whose devotion to the transience of erotic pleasure can't be easily reduced to a defence against other forms of commitment. Garnett gives a nuanced portrayal of a straight-edge suppressing glimmers of uncertainty and regret. And Deeth's Alan has an easygoing charm.

The large supporting cast employs a range of techniques to mould a social context. It's involving but doesn't always work.

Playwright Pitts deserves and could benefit from a mentorship. His play makes mistakes, but there's a disarming honesty in the way it shows us how the world of the heart can be just as disorienting as the one outside.

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