‘Hedonism’s Second Album’ was thrilling.
Warning: this review contains coarse language and references to adult themes.
AC/DC, INXS, Powderfinger, and Silverchair are all acts that make rocking around the world look easy. The reality isn’t like that at all. It’s a boiling pot of stress, anxiety and doubt – which Left to Right Theatre Company explores in the show ‘Hedonism’s Second Album’.
From the first beat, this comedy kicks into overdrive as four Brisbane boys are working on their much-awaited second album in the studio. The stress of living up to their hype causes them to act out in one wild weekend. Their bombastic actions cause unflattering headlines, so their producer, Phil, comes down and hardballs them into making the album in a week. Though the boys agree, the attitudes or pressure affect them all into dealing with the pressure of making it big and sticking it to the machine while trying to keep their friendships intact.
The set design by Tammy Sarah Linde highlighted how boys manage a big-time recording studio, with rubbish hidden around the set, while the furniture looked elegant. Lighting design, also by Tammy Sarah Linde, focused heavily on sharp colours that lulled the piece into a false sense of joy, mainly using purple. Sound design by Luke O’Hagan created a level of depth and made you immersed in the recording studio. These aspects helped audiences feel as if they were watching an entertaining music documentary. The original music made for the piece added a nice element for the audience to determine if what they were making ‘wasn’t shit’.
The direction by Tammy Sarah Linde rocked this production. The blocking, character choices and deliberate use of space allowed this show to feel natural and let the humour drive the performance. But, also gave magnificent, heartwarming and wrenching moments towards the end of the show that dealt with domestic violence, sexism and fragile relationships respectfully. It was a masterful stroke that gave this production a driving beat.
Dugald Lowis, as Gareth, encapsulated a stressed individual who wants to be the best wonderfully. Their facial expressions and worried persona let the audience feel the stress of the situation. August Cooks, as Michael blistered a frantic, scared man dealing with significant issues. Cooks delivers a strong performance that leaves the audience feeling for him. Joel Dow, as Chimney, gave an engaging look into a man who wants it all and wants it now. Dows brilliantly uses humour and charm to give a compelling performance. Joshua Brandon, as Sumo, masterfully plays your everyday bloke who wants to party and be with his mates. Brandon’s performance drew the audience in with brilliant comedic timing and his use of energy. Chloe Boike, as Phil, commanded the stage and gave a delightful contrast to the high comedic energy the others had. Boike stole the show with fantastic presence and line delivery.
Being in a band is hard, and it’s even harder to keep from destroying your mates in the process. There needs to be more theatre like this around Brisbane. Left to Right Theatre Company has put on a show that, through all the vulgarity and ‘boys being boys’ mentality, is a tale about ensuring you care about your friends and passions, which made this a show worthy of many encores.
‘Hedonism’s Second Album’ ran until the 11th of November at the Wonargo Centre. For more information, see the Left to Right Theatre Company website.