One character – many voices
By Myron My
We have all loved and lost but sometimes it is difficult to move on from that loss. Presented at La Mama as part of the 2015 Midsumma Festival, Jake Stewart’s Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes looks at how, long after it has long ended, one relationship can still affect us – or in this case Ben, who is portrayed by a number of actors at different times of his life.
Stewart manages to capture some genuinely honest moments in his writing, such as Alistair Trapnell and Sam Nix’s “pillow talk” and Chris Edwards’ nervous approach to Alasdair Huggett’s guitar-playing charmer. The rest of the script however is a mixed bag that is more miss than hit. Some scenes felt repetitive with the shy guy/confident guy moments, there were musical interludes that seemed out of place, and incidents that made little or no sense in the overall story arc.
There are some standout performances, including Ariadne Sgouros who brings a gentle authenticity to her scenes and Edwards, who nails the awkwardness and shyness in Ben. However, I was not fully convinced by the idea of having different actors playing Ben in this case, as I never felt a strong differentiation between one Ben and another Ben.
As an audience member, one of the most frustrating things I find in shows are blackouts. They break the momentum and it takes a lot of work for the actors to draw me back into their world. In Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes, I have found something even more frustrating; the actors calling out “blackout” and “lights up” between scenes, almost as if we would not be able to figure out a new scene has begun without this bit of information.
Whilst interesting in theory, Softly Pouting While Walking Into Breezes needs to slow down and focus more on the story it wants to tell and how it wants to tell it, because it currently feels like it’s shooting off in way too many directions. It’s not an easy narrative to tell in this style but I feel it can be done well with some more fine-tuning.
Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Season: Until 1 February | Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Sun 4:00pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
Bookings: http://lamama.com.au or 9347 6948