‘PASHUN’ // TheatrePunk Co.

‘PASHUN’ was poetic.

What happens when masculine, feminine, and a touch of envy energy are amplified in modern society? You get ‘PASHUN’ by TheatrePunk Co.!

‘PASHUN’ is a comedic theatrical exploration of gender and relationships, infused with fantastic absurdist techniques. Written by Harrison Mills, it offers a unique night out that delves into the intersection of queer identity and the “straight minority.”

Harrison Mills has skilfully interwoven absurdist techniques into the fabric of queer and heterosexual love, resulting in a profoundly thought-provoking experience. Throughout ‘PASHUN’, they masterfully employ stereotypes, drawing our attention to their nuances. From the hyper-masculine, reminiscent of an Andrew Tate figure, Sigma, to the unmistakable Starbucks-loving pink aficionado, Tiff, Mills has ingeniously crafted characters that evoke both love and disdain throughout the production.

Under the direction of Joshua Price, the piece is minimalist but effective. The utilisation of packing boxes as the set creates the fringe atmosphere, essential for the play’s essence. The blocking is natural and realistic, allowing the actors to fully inhabit their characters, a testament to Price’s directorial prowess. However, a minor issue arose when rubbish used in one scene remained strewn across the stage for the entirety of the production, potentially symbolising “university life” but inadvertently distracting both the audience and the actors.

Phoebe Quinn’s lighting design is aesthetically pleasing, and their ability to work within the constraints of BackDock Arts’ basic lighting setup is commendable. they orchestrate beautiful moments that enhance the emotional impact of the scenes. Special mention goes to a scene where Conner uses a laptop to illuminate their face, creating a highly poetic and effective visual.

Keegan Bell, as Conner, delivers a multifaceted performance, seamlessly transitioning from the heartache of a breakup to the pinnacle of romance that Conner aspires to. Rachael Woodnett, as Lena, complements Bell impeccably. Lena, the edgy character of the group, reveals their reserved nature until it’s time to shine and get involved in other people’s affairs. Together, Bell and Woodnett craft an intertwined and poetic love story that unfolds minute by minute.

The trio of “Girls, Gays, and Theys,” Naticia Slade as Emma, Zara Chandler as Tiff, and Cullyn Beckton as Kai, provide fantastic comedic relief throughout the production. With sleepovers, exuberant dance lifts (think ‘I’ve had the time of my life’), and all-around craziness, Slade, Chandler, and Beckton showcase their remarkable talents, bringing to life a captivating array of characters with their ups and downs.

Emma Stratton, in the role of Sigma, emerges as the standout of the production. Stratton masterfully portrays Sigma, a character who draws the audience’s anger while maintaining an irresistible allure. The toxic masculinity oozes from Sigma throughout the entire production, culminating in their ultimate demise. Scott Kift, as Andrew, Sigma’s roommate, struggling university student and high school tutor, delivers a compelling performance. Kift skilfully conveys Andrew’s mounting frustration with Sigma, leading to a cathartic release and Sigma’s ultimate demise.

Lastly, Ewan Robertson’s versatility was showcased as they take on multiple characters throughout the production, most notably as Rory. Robertson’s ability to seamlessly transition between characters is a testament to their exceptional acting skills.

‘PASHUN’ offers a rare and delightful night of absurdist theatre. Harrison Mills has crafted a remarkable piece of theatre, and his potential as a world-class playwright is evident. Keep an eye out for TheatrePunk Co. and their upcoming works, which continue to push boundaries and challenge traditional theatre norms.

‘PASHUN’ performed until September 10, 2023. Visit TheatrePunk Co.’s website for more.

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