Tag: Wayne Pearn

Out Cast Theatre Presents DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMEN (BUT REALLY JUST A COUPLE OF ***TS)

Sordid, outrageous, and unashamedly funny

By Myron My

The title says it all really. Presented by Out Cast Theatre for a limited return season, Distinguished Gentlemen (But Really Just A Couple of ***ts) is a riotous look at two dirty old Regency gentlemen who lust after a mysterious young stranger. The two scheme their way to not only one-up each other, but also to ensnare the stranger into their bedroom, however they’re not the only ones with a trick or two up their… sleeve.

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Steven Dawson and Wayne Pearn as Sir George Barrington and Lord Henry Burridge are clearly having a lot of fun with their characters, who are well established with enough backstory and motivation to make them satisfying and almost believable, apart from the sheer absurdity of the story. Tosh Greenslade as Simon Latimer, the attractive young man, rounds out the trio and does well in maintaining Simon as the “straight” role and ensuring the narrative pushes forward. While I can see how a sense of mystery to his character is required, a few hints and teases here and there might have allowed him to be as well fleshed out a character as Sir Barrington and Lord Burridge were.

Dawson also serves as writer and director of Distinguished Gentlemen and while keeping with the language of the period, manages to squeeze in more sexual innuendos and puns than you could poke a stick at. The jokes might be lewd and the humour crude, but they are entertaining and for the most part, unexpected and refreshing. The story is a little rough around the edges and could do with some – er – tightening, but again, its outrageousness and salaciousness are what make this farcical piece of theatre a delight to watch as the three men go head-to-head (so to speak) to get what they desire.

At its core Distinguished Gentlemen (But Really Just A Couple of ***ts) is a sordid tale about power, lust and revenge but with a dollop of buffoonery and plenty of buggery. These distinguished gentlemen may be a couple of ***ts, but they are a couple of funny ***ts in a show that will definitely have you feeling a little hot under the collar – from laugher.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Until 15 January | 8.30pm 
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc 
Bookings: The Butterfly Club

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REVIEW: The Seven Ages of Joyce for BLOOMSDAY

Piecing together the broken life of a brilliant man

By Ross Larkin

It is, at first, anyone’s guess as to what one can expect from The Seven Ages of Joyce, a theatrical exploration of the life of Irish novelist and poet, James Joyce for this year’s  Bloomsday in Melbourne Festival.

Best known for his 1922 novel Ulysses, many (with the exception of Joyce aficionados), may not be aware of the controversy his work attracted, largely due to his use of obscenities and interest in the abject.

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This fact alone, however, suggests a (potentially) very dry two hours of biographical examination indeed, and it was fair to wonder if much padding might be required to sustain such an engagement.

Yet, perhaps surprising to us all is the extent of Joyce’s irreverent and quirky personality, and moreover, the bloodline of torment and mental dysfunction from which he came.

Undoubtedly, director Wayne Pearn faces a challenge in staging a fragmented re-telling of Ulysses along with Joyce’s writing process and life throughout. Incidental characters are rife, as is Joyce’s famous stream-of-consciousness in a dialogue-heavy and, at times, erratic production.

Fortunately, Pearn’s casting alone saves The Seven Ages of Joyce from a potentially immediate death, for this character driven-play with music and singing relies on extraordinarily versatile actors, who must decipher and showcase some heartily challenging text and structure.

Much of his cast of nine require the skill and commitment to interchange between as many as ten characters, consistently manipulating vocal tone, accent, physicality and objective – an assignment for only the brave and experienced performer.

Kevin Dee, as the novelist in question, faces the arduous task of writing out loud and recalling passages at great length, yet does so with ease, while Corrine Davies and Stephanie Lillis, who play a variety of the major female roles, excel at moving between comic charisma and gut-wrenching tragedy.

The supporting cast, however, not only compliment and genuinely support the leads, they provide a much-needed injection of pace and spice, with outstanding performances throughout.

With a simple backdrop, ambient lighting, and intermittent live music and song, the players and creators of The Seven Ages of Joyce manage to bring to life eccentric individuals, manic colour and heartbreaking drama.

The Seven Ages of Joyce opens tonight at 7.30pm, and thereafter on Saturday June 15 at 6pm and Sunday June 16 at 1pm and 6pm.
45 Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs.com or 03 9662 9966.