Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Melbourne theatre in the 80s and early 90s

This 2-in-1 review reminded me of how Melbourne’s indy theatre scene has descended from being a highlight of my life* about 15 years ago, to today’s occasional chore. A playgoer’s takeaway “goody” bag with a syringe in it? For fuck’s sake! The shame is that I saw one of these plays (Homme Fatale) a few years ago – and it was good, if a bit relentlessly dark.

In 2004, the post-show handing out of syringes, is presumably seen as a (cheap) way of freshening-up a production that can, and should, more than stand-up on its own two feet – res ipsa loquitur. Oh, and the tickets this time around, at $30 ($27 conc) are way too expensive for those of us who are just getting by in syringe-on-footpath raddled inner suburbs. The junkies, meanwhile – judging by their insouciant disposal habits – somehow live in a world of endless plenty.

Even more of a shame is that Barry Lowe, the playwright barely mentioned in Helen Thomson’s review, is a writer of immense talent (judging by another play of his I have seen) who should be well-above such controversy-cranking gimmickry. The Death Of Peter Pan (1989) was deeply subversive, done as an Edwardian set-piece, and above all, very, very funny.

* I mean as spectator, only (although my interest was probably heightened by going to uni with many of the “scene” at the time.

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