Beguiling and beautifully unexpected story-telling
By Amy Planner
International Stud takes a rather philosophical approach to life, love and all the messy stuff in-between. Searching far and wide for love, whatever that may be, and finding nothing but slightly crushed hopes and a list of ‘not enoughs’; that is the intriguing comedic romance of International Stud.
International Stud follows Arnold, a twenty-something drag performer, on his eternal search for love. When Arnold meets Ed, love blooms but as quick as it comes, it may go.
This small cast is surprisingly diverse. Jacob Antolini stars as the somewhat troubled Arnold. Antolini’s interpretation was fascinating, although comfortably clichéd in parts. Adam Hetherington is Ed, the slightly older yet unsure side of this tumultuous relationship. He was supremely charismatic and charming which lent itself to the allurement Arnold’s character was trying to portray.
Antolini and Hetherington should be commended for the large amounts of dialogue they executed. The use of a type of one-sided storytelling was a fresh way to utilise the quaint space of The Butterfly Club stage and to make great use of the small cast. It allowed the audience to get to know the characters individually by focussing on every subtle aspect of the performer’s interpretations. Finding reaction from no real counterpart can be difficult, but Hetherington especially, glided through it with ease and charisma.
When Ed and Arnold are finally brought together on stage, the pair reaches a poignant culmination, searching through a long list of emotional responses and fighting for a love that seems it will never be enough.
Their relationship wasn’t explored a great deal on stage, which left the audience unsure of where the dramatic change came from when it arrived. However, filling the gaps in the story meant the more emotional moments had more of an impact in the best way.
The musical composition was truly distinctive. Caitlin Berwick (who also played Lady Blues) and Paddy Adeney took popular songs and gave them new life in an unpredictable musical journey through Arnold’s love life.
Some scenes were quite lengthy and could have used a little trim here and there but the flow of conversation was very natural. Other scenes were shockingly unexpected but perhaps that’s a surprise best left for those venturing into the this particular theatrical world.
This self-proclaimed Freudian love-romp is a feast for the mind and will make you wonder, consider and question your boundaries.
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Off Little Collins St, Melbourne.
Season: February 10th-14th, 7pm.