Tag: Ryan Forbes

REVIEW: Christopher Bryant’s INTOXICATION

Theatre at internet speed

By Myron My

I still remember the excitement in my house when we signed up for dial-up Internet. It brought a new world into my living room with just a tap of the keyboard and a click of the mouse. Seventeen years later, the technological advances we have made have brought this virtual world closer to us, but has it pushed us further away from the real world? Presented as part of the 2016 Midsumma Festival, Christopher Bryant’s Intoxication raises questions about how our reliance on social media, dating apps and smart phones are hindering us from building honest and meaningful relationships with actual people.


The three performers – Ryan Forbes, Amy Hack and Bryant – each sit on an individual cube and, as if they are in a confessional, share their anxieties with us. Even though there is barely, if any, interaction between the three during these moments, the thoughts and emotions shared are very similar, building on Bryant’s idea that despite all having these tangible insecurities and feelings of loneliness, we seem to drive ourselves further away from reality and into the digital world, where we are free to project the life we wish we had and want the world (wide web) to see.

Forbes, Hack and Bryant are engaging on stage and the interactions they do share have a nice authenticity to them. Despite having similar concerns and worries about being alone and falling in love, they each bring individuality to their characters and stay committed to them the whole time.

Bryant is a talented and thoughtful writer and I would love to be able to read the script to Intoxication so I could fully comprehend everything that he has to say. Every line uttered has importance and carries much weight, however the delivery is so fast and non-stop that when you take a second to contemplate what is being said, you’ve already missed the next two lines of dialogue and find yourself trying to keep up with the performers. There are a few musical interludes to help even out the pace but they feel slightly out of place in their current execution.

Intoxication has many home truths it puts forth to the audience, and I found myself agreeing countless times and seeing myself in the thoughts and emotions expressed by characters. However, allowing the audience to reflect on these thoughts during the show, as well as after, would create stronger emotional connections between the viewers and these characters, and thus produce an even stronger impact from the production overall.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton
Season: until 7 February | Wed – Sat 7.30pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
Bookings: La Mama Theatre


Telling, amusing musings

By Myron My

We read about the countries where homosexuality is illegal and even punishable by death. In fact, it’s not so long ago that homosexuality was still illegal in Australia. But what if Australia was in fact, the worst place to be gay? This is what I Still Call Australia Homo speculates over in a clever and humorous way.

I Still Call Australia HomoWritten and performed by Emma Annand, Sonja Bishopp, Adam Ibrahim and Ryan Forbes, the laughs in this performance come through thick and fast whilst the narrative still gets its poignant message across. I enjoyed the fact the writers chose a lighter tone to tell this story rather than going down the dark and serious path. Even though this alternate-Australia is now persecuting homosexuals and experiencing a bombardment of rallies, protests and violence, we don’t see any of that. In fact, apart from some news grabs, we really don’t deal with this powerful backdrop at all.

What we do see are two married couples living the suburban dream, a Stepford Wives-like existence, and this is in part to do with Jack Fordham’s simple yet creative and effective set design and costuming. The couples both have their perfectly kept lawns and rose bushes and their white picket fences while enjoying their BBQs, dinner parties and yoga classes… unfortunately, the two “husbands” are actually falling in love with each other, and it’s here the struggle and turmoil occurs.

With regards the acting, all the cast are admirable, but Bishopp more or less steals all her scenes as the extremely uptight and frustrated Pippa: her nuanced facial expressions, physicality and voice epitomised the overwrought and repressed housewife. Forbes also does well with the male macho bravado of Jake, and with revealing his internal struggle to be true to himself in a world that just won’t allow it.

I would love to see I Still Call Australia Homo get a second life at some point, as more people should have the opportunity to see this play. It is a highly enjoyable piece of theatre, which cleverly mixes humour with an important and meaningful message about equality: does it really matter if the guy next door could in fact be the gay next door?

I Still Call Australia Homo was performed during Fr!sk Festival at the Victorian College of the Arts, as part of the 2014 Melbourne Fringe Festival.