Almost Face To Face

La Mama
Melbourne Fringe
Reviewed September 21st 2014

A brutal one man piece delving into the psyche of an artist lost in the drug and drink debauchery of Dublin’s seedy underbelly.

Staged with powerful simplicity in the intimacy of Melbourne’s La Mama theatre, the piece, performed by actor/writer Stephen House, is hard-hitting and sad, leavened with the occasional wry aside and comedic turn of phrase.  House has some serious acting chops, and the story of a bunch of Dublin down-and-outs and their intertwining lives is neatly structured and well-told - the work has a polish that sets it apart from much Fringe fare.

It is not ‘fun’ or ‘enjoyable’ but it is definitely ‘good’, and indirectly inspires a wealth of conversations over the rest of the evening about the purpose of art, and comedy versus drama.  I love laughing.  It is so easy and feels so right.  I hate crying.  It hurts and feels so exhausting.  I suppose a balanced diet includes both.

Regardless of your preferred medium, this is a notable and engaging piece of work.  An impressive performance of some pretty heavy material, that left me feeling steam-rolled.

When she's not making theatre, Hannah likes critiquing it, and is a contributing theatre reviewer for Theatreview, the New Zealand Listener, Broadway Baby and The Wireless.

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