Challenging play struggles to connect

By Myron My

Playing at The Malthouse Theatre, Pornography looks at a variety of characters during the seven days in London when the G8 Summit, the Live 8 Concert, the Olympic Games announcement and the London bombings all occurred.


My biggest dissatisfaction with Pornography is its length. There is not enough juice in this play to justify a 2.5-hour show. Seven stories – five of which are roughly 20-minute monologues – is also quite a lot to take, and when the couples sitting either side of me did not return after intermission I am quite sure I am not the only one who thought so.

It’s with the other two stories that the pace changes, the characters interact with one another, and a more conventional approach to narrative is followed. We are witness to an incestuous brother and sister and a kind of romance between an old man and a young woman but these potentially dynamic plots were not enough to keep me engaged. The interactions and the characters all felt forced and not organic. I simply did not believe what I was watching.

The stories ultimately lack interest and there are no surprises along the way, as you already know how they will end. The time shifts within stories didn’t help in being able to follow the flimsy plots, as it was quite difficult to gauge how much time had passed between the lights coming down and back up again.

The actors (Imat Akelo-Opio, Emma Chelsey, Hannah Greenwood, Justin Hosking, Richard Neal, Sonya Suares and Jesse Velik) worked hard with their various British accents but the performances as a whole seemed to lack spark. However, Frances Hutson was able to breathe some much-needed life into Pornography through the final more appealing story.

I’m sorry to say that Pornography disappointed me. I walked out feeling nothing about any of the stories I had seen nor about any of the characters I had met. Yes, it did look at the acts of transgression people can commit in such emotionally-heightened times but unfortunately it failed to make me care.

Venue: The Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank

Season: Until 3 March | Tues – Sat 8:00pm, Sat 3:00pm, Sun 5:00pm

Tickets: $42 Full | $35 Concession