Review: Muff

Award winning Australian playwright, Van Badham, brings together two very different, but equally strong women, Eve and Manpreet, and looks at their relationships with the same man, Tom, and with each other.

By

 

Muff

Presented by five.pont.one
Reviewed Saturday 11th May 2013

Award winning Australian playwright Van Badham brings together two very different but equally strong women, Eve and Manpreet, and looks at their relationships with the same man, Tom, and with each other.

Eve is his former partner, who had thoughts of rekindling their love, and Manpreet is his younger, insatiable, and sexually adventurous current partner. In flash-backs and dreams, they play looks at the present situations and back over a six year period including an encounter a year after Eve’s return, when we see how each of them has changed.

This play, it must be said, is not for the sensitive. The dialogue is heavily peppered with four letter words and explicit sexual references and there is the random rape and bashing of Eve in a toilet, when she and Tom go out to party and drink too much, which was the catalyst for their separation five years earlier.

Claire Glenn gives a superb performance as Eve, her role demanding and receiving the entire gamut of emotions. Her’s is the most committed and believable of the three performances, providing the audience with some very moving moments, embracing sadness and anger at what has happened to Eve.

Serena Moorghen has a difficult role to play as Manpreet, whose character is crass and shallow and, when not engaging in sexual activities with Tom, she does little but swear and talk in detail about sex, or try to agitate Eve. Moorghen works hard but seems a little uncomfortable in the role and at times, pushes a trifle to hard, the ‘actor at work’ showing through the character.

Brad Williams gives the impression through his characterisation that Tom had drifted into both relationships and has not really made a great commitment to either of them. His performance varies depending on who is he with, displaying Tom’s baser interests when with Manpreet, who is offering sex on tap, and being gentler and confused when with Eve.

Directed by Alison Howard in the naturalistic style of theatre, everything gives an appearance of working but one is left with the feeling that there should have been more, and a greater degree of clarity was needed. Audience members were left wondering what it was that they were supposed to take away from the production.

In the end, it was a voyeuristic look at three people over six years of their history and relationships that, ultimately, didn’t really seem to say anything much, barely touching on themes of feminism, sexuality, relationships, depression, and dealing with trauma. We have been seeing full frontal nudity and simulated sexual intercourse on stage for a very long time so the shadow of Glenn’s naked body appearing on a screen when showering was neither surprising nor shocking, especially as it was tastefully handled by using just a silhouette. What was surprising was the other two, Manpreet supposedly being completely uninhibited, discretely wearing their underwear in bed when they were having sex. Against the explicit dialogue, it seemed quite incongruous.

This play works well with the movable screens and minimal furniture of Myf Cadwallader’s set design coupled with the lighting design by Chris Petridis, together creating the various locations and times. Tristan Louth-Robins then adds his sound design to further enhance the work of the other two.

Good production values and hard working performers make this worth seeing.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide,

Bakehouse web site

Event Facebook page

Venue: Bakehouse Theatre, Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: to 25th May 2013
Duration: 70mins
Tickets: Adult $20/Concession $15
Bookings: Trybooking.com

 

Hot News