In All I See Is You, Bobby and Ralph meet, kiss and fall in love. It wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow today but in England 1967 it was another story, where your sexuality could get you thrown into jail. Written by Kathrine Smith, the play looks at the challenges two people in love faced at a time when simply being themselves was a danger to their very existence.
The narrative moves at a consistent pace with Smith covering
a lot of ground in its 60 minutes, beginning with Ralph and Bobby’s first fervent encounter. The chemistry between the actors intensifies
from there as they continue to share some fiercely passionate scenes. As the more sexually liberated of the pair, Ciarán Griffiths presents
a tenderness and impetuousness to Bobby’s character. Christian Edwards as the
straight-laced Ralph finds a vulnerable fear as he grapples with who he is and
the expectations of who he ought to be. The two are able to display the affection the two have for each other despite coming from different backgrounds.
Stripped of any set design or props, it's the subtle soundscape
and Charlie Morgan Jones' lighting that offer the audience a deeper insight
into the minds of the characters as well as the world that exists outside of their
relationship. The prison scenes are especially gripping with the sound that
plays throughout their arrests and interrogations. The costumes and Smith's
writing convincingly bring this era to life and provide distinct personalities
to the men. It is evident Smith has completed her research about this period by
the language that is used, including a reference to polari, a secret code that
was spoken by homosexuals during the 60s to avoid trouble with the law.
All I See Is You is a moving yet stark reminder of how
difficult it was living as a homosexual in the 60s. It may take place in England,
but it’s a very familiar and timely story in Australia. It’s a sign of how much
has changed, but most importantly - particularly with marriage equality only
recently becoming legal here - it shows how much further we still have to go.
Venue: Meat Market, 5 Blackwood St, North Melbourne
Season: until 28 September| 7:00pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Group 6+ | $24 Conc
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival