REVIEW: Fly on the Wall Theatre Presents TELENY

Taking it slow…

By Margaret Wieringa

When a young and sexually inexperienced man in 1920s Paris meets a talented pianist, the world and everything he believes in is turned upside-down. Believed to have been written by Oscar Wilde and his circle, Teleny pulls no punches when it comes to graphic and shocking sexual stories.

A grand piano dominates the stage, set among the stunning chandeliers and chaise longues. It is used innovatively throughout the performance, but none more so than in the beautifully choreographed sex scene between the two lovers. Actors Tom Byers and Dushan Phillips use every muscle in their bodies to create stunning visual images of love and lust, captured in the light and shadow of excellent lighting design.

Jackson Raine in TELENY_credit FSPY FRANCINE SCHAEPPER PHOTOGRAPHY

A grand piano dominates the stage, set among the stunning chandeliers and chaise longues. It is used innovatively throughout the performance, but none more so than in the beautifully choreographed sex scene between the two lovers. Actors Tom Byers and Dushan Phillips use every muscle in their bodies to create stunning visual images of love and lust, captured in the light and shadow of excellent lighting design.

The challenge to these two actors was not just the physical lovemaking scenes, but conveying the aloof and sarcastic nature of the pretty young things of Wilde’s world. At times, the emotion of the scene was lost in the words and tone, but once the characters lose themselves to love, the words came more naturally.

The second half of the performance opens with the salon scene – an orgy of delights, with naked men performing poetry (well, bawdy limericks), storytelling and a hilarious commedia dell ‘arte number, and ends in a violent act that director Robert Chuter has somehow managed to keep tasteful.

Unfortunately, for me, all of the good things about the play were severely outweighed by the self-indulgent length. When, after two-and-a-half hours the lights came on and we were informed that there would be a twenty-minute interval, there were various sounds of surprise from the audience. There were a considerable number of people who did not return after the interval, and I suspect it was the length more than the content. The performance would have benefitted from some severe editing to ensure that the story that was being told was kept, but that it didn’t drag on and on. Throughout the show, various non-naturalistic techniques were used to tell a lot in a very snappy manner, and perhaps more of this could have been incorporated.

Venue: Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Dates: May 29 – June 15, Wednesday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6:30pm
Price: $37.50 Full, $34.50 Concession (+ Transaction Fee)
Tickets: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au or call (03) 8290 7000

PLEASE NOTE: THIS PERFORMANCE IS SUITABLE FOR MATURE AUDIENCES 18+ CONTAINS NUDITY, SIMULATED EXPLICIT SEX SCENES, DRUG USE, COARSE LANGUAGE AND SMOKE EFFECTS

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