Have I pulled you in yet? Beyoncé, coffee and Crocs is the best way to sum up the play, Westerly, on at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne between the 24th and the 27th of April.
I am not personally a fan of local or small theatre. Call me uncultured or whatever, but I am all for big production musicals. But for the first time, since experiencing a poor performance of the Glass Menagerie at my local theatre at least 5 years ago, I actually enjoyed a performance.
Let me set the scene, without introducing too many spoilers. You’re at your local coffee place, drinking your soy latte (with two sugars), when you here an odd conversation. Whether it’s love in the romantic sense, or within a friendship, it seems as though there is something in the air today. And while you may be late for work, you drink in the sounds and conversations of life at Westerly café, at 7:45 in the morning.
I applaud the concept. There is nothing more satisfying to me than a performance that gives a raw representation of the weirdness of everyday life and communication. I was very pleased to see that the show stuck to simplicity, and clearly represented the morning postulations that most likely occur at your local coffee house.
The show however, lacked excitement. Although your real life coffee house observation may not always be exciting, if you pay to see a show, you at least want something to be interesting.
For instance, the show started slow. The dialogue was boring and maybe a little TOO mundane. I would have personally like to have seen more coffee house humour.
The transition between different tables speaking was sloppy, and jumped between them meaninglessly. While this is a clear representation of the different conversations that occur within a coffee house, it felt like the script had been cut and pasted together as if at random.
While there were twists and turns within the play, they were not exciting, but rather TOO weird, as if they had been added at a moments notice to keep the story at least a little interesting.
This however does not look poorly on the performance of the actors. A special shout out to Lansy Feng, whose performance of the shy but sweet, love sick writer had me both rooting for her, and hoping that someone would arrive with a straight jacket to take her away.
So while I am more used to larger, more exciting productions, that performers should be commended for making the show enjoyable and interesting.
All in all, the production of Westerly is an interesting collective of the weird, but mundane life that occurs down at your local.
Westerly is on at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne until Saturday the 27th of April.