Saturday 7 February 2015

Bad Adam / Pony review

On the surface, the double bill of Bad Adam and Pony during this year’s Midsumma Festival appears to be constrasting highly different pieces of work with their distinct moods and tones. However both these shows leave us questioning what it means to be a gay man and how gay male sexuality is perceived both by society – but more importantly – by us.

In Bad Adam, the title character (creator and performer Dosh Luckwell) spends his time in “Club Eden”, a sex on-premises venue, where we follow his various experiences and are privy to his thoughts during these moments. The overt religious imagery and themes throughout Bad Adam, such as the apples, the lit-up cross on the floor and our protagonist’s namefor example, worked well in subtly exploring the idea of sexual repression and suppression and the conflict the two forms of pressure often present with each other.

Given Luckwell is the creator of the live art project Sex Poetry Booth, it is not surprising he has a way with words and the language used and the way it is presented in Bad Adam is indeed quite poetic and intriguing at times. Yet while we see a vulnerable, lonely and conflicted side to Adam, a number of scenes were too similar in execution. This lessened the impact of the overall work and impeded us in retaining an interest in Adam which, in a one-man show, is pivotal to its success.

The second part of this double bill, Jay Robinson’s Pony, looks at similar ideas of sex and sexuality but with fewer dark overtones than Bad Adam. Here, we see the evolution of man and then more specifically the evolution of a person exploring and experimenting and with his own sexuality.

Robinson has a strong presence on stage and this helps with his demanding physical performance. He uses his body to its full extent and fully commits to the moment, however there are a number highly obscure scenes that left me confused as to their purpose and significance, such as the moment when Robinson transforms into a dog.

The final moments of Pony though are quite positive and playful and the idea that once you are at ease with yourself and can be what you want to be, then there’s no reason to not feel complete and free.

Both Bad Adam and Pony offer some interesting thoughts and ideas on gay male sexuality but I felt they need to focus more on how they share these thoughts and ideas. With further development, these two pieces have the potential to be a profound commentary on the society and an important voice for the community in which gay men live.

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda.
Season: Until 7 February | Fri 9pm, Sat 3pm and 7pm
Tickets: $23 Full | $18 Concession
Bookings: Midsumma Festival, Theatreworks, or 9534 3388

*Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 7 February.

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