Finding the comedy in modern relationships
By Myron My
The title of Red Stitch’s latest production Straight comes with a double meaning. It plays on the notion of being stuffy and predictable but also brings up questions about intimacy and sexuality between a group of late-twenty-somethings.
D. C. Moore’s fun script is strong and I had only a few quibbles with it. For example, the opening scene between Lewis and Morgan (Ryan Gibson and Rosie Lockhart) feels quite contrived and grated on my patience with the “cute and adorable” relationship speak. Fortunately, this issue is rarely repeated. There are a few instances where the story seems to slow down with some hedging preventing any progression, but when the audience is generally two steps ahead of what is on stage, sometimes it’s best to just get on with it.
However, Moore does exceptionally well in keeping the story and characters honest and grounded. It’s a topic that could easily end up becoming full of badly-made sex and porn jokes but there is real heart evident in all facets and throughout the comedy of Straight. This is mainly through the scenes with Waldorf (Ben Prendergast) and Lewis but the final scene between Morgan and Lewis is quite heartbreaking and touching.
Guest actor with Red Stitch, Gibson is perfectly cast as Lewis and plays his nuances and anxieties well. Christina O’Neill is a delight to watch as Steph, Waldorf’s Amy Winehouse-esque one-night stand. I would have liked to see more of her but Moore knows the story he wants to tell and sacrifices have to be made. Rounding out the talented ensemble were Lockhart and Prendergast who both do well with their roles. The cast excels in their English accents and they all remain natural and consistent with them throughout.
I’m generally not a fan of blackouts between scenes but in Straight they work effectively in keeping us engaged with the show. In particular, the set change from cramped living room to swanky hotel room is a spot of genius and you do not even notice the the time it takes to make the transformation.
Straight is an enjoyable show with some great performances and a script with plenty of moments that will have you laughing out loud.
Venue: Red Stitch Actors Theatre, 2 Chapel St, St. Kilda.
Season: Until 28 September | Wed- Sat 8:00pm, Sat 4:00pm, Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: $37 Full | $20-27 Conc