Courtney Rose Brown
The performers are electric and charming as they easily gain our emotional investment. I never question the dynamics between the performers as they instantly establish their relationships. Nor do I never feel pulled away too soon or disappointed for them leave - although thoroughly engaged with each one, soon we are brought into another world.
Bethany Petrovich and Niamh Vaughan are two of the youngest performers and have an engaging stage presence, in particular in their interactions with each other, both providing a lovely naturalness on stage as well as a truthfulness to their characters. Merlin Connell-Nawalowalo also has a lovely charisma and subtleness to his performance, creating a great moment of sympathy when his favourite stone is stolen.
Ian Harcourt’s energy is the most charged as he storms the stage with paranoid characters and an upset lover. My favourite character of his is when he has alzheimer's and his interactions with his wife (Perry Piercy). This certainly leaves few dry eyes in the audience. Piercy brings a life force of her own, as I find myself hanging off her every word. She is enchanting in every performance, in particular her monologue about the colour red is one of my favourites of the night and she no doubt has the audience in laughing fits throughout.
Trae Te Wiki gives a stand out performance; she is captivating and genuine in every role. My favourite scene is one that may even be the only time a performer is alone on stage, where she tells a story about fear, playing multiple perspectives lit only by torch light. Another potent scene of Te Wiki’s is her portrayal of genuine fear when her character’s reality is is skewed and she provides a celebratory presentation of truthfulness to mental health.
Waylon Edwards and Keagan Carr Fransch strike an amazing chemistry and rapport with each other (whilst always presenting naturalness and effortless truth whenever on stage), in particular their brain mapping scene and closing scene. The love that they present is one that is raw and endearing, which could have easily been a cringe worthy moment, but they navigate romance delicately.
My criticisms for Love and Information are few. One qualm is stage configuration. The show would be better performed end on as opposed to using a thrust stage, as the cast do not perform out to the sides. With so many people on stage, people are often blocked and I entirely miss facial expressions. Keagan Carr Fransch is the most aware of this as her performances keep the audience in mind.
I also argue the necessity of having the performers from Far Away in the cast of this. Their roles are tiny and could have been performed by others, which would have also made the stage at times less cluttered and would have given the actors a break. Performing in both shows turns this into a long night of performing.
It is delightful to see a range of performers in age and such a diverse cast. This creates some truly beautiful moments of interaction as we are presented with stories from older generations that we are not always exposed to (in particular, many great ones about sex).
Love and Information is complex and exhilarating, presenting beautiful and honest perspectives of life. The season runs until the 4th of June and comes highly recommended. Showing on Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8pm, in the Propellor Stage at Bats Theatre.
For more information and to book online click here: http://bats.co.nz/whats-on/love-and-information/
The other half of the Carol Churchill season Far Away also runs to the 4th of June, Tuesdays-Saturdays at 6.30pm also in the Propellor Stage at Bats Theatre.