MY DINNER WITH DICK
Fortune Theatre Studio, Dunedin
15/03/2012 - 18/03/2012
In what might be subtitled “Sideways, but with beer”, two men in their 5th decade – sun-dappled billabongs in a man drought – ponder their 30,000+ days of existence, and whether a four-course meal can be prepared with only the aid of a toaster.
A play that’s so funny they almost put it in the Comedy section of the Fringe guide; but then they put it back in the Theatre section cos it’s so artistic and deep.
No really that’s a true story.
“My Dinner With Andre”, the 1981 Louis Malle movie of the Wallace Shawn play, took audiences by surprise by doing something that had scarce been done before: the whole film was simply two guys talking, in a restaurant, for 2 hours. Just, y’know, talking about stuff.
MY DINNER WITH DICK takes that very same premise and toys with it. First, they’ve shaved half an hour off the running time – phew! Secondly, although it is based on Currin and West’s real-life shambolic conversational habits, it throws in a desperate bid to save the world as we know it, a mysterious appearance by the ghost (OR IS HE REAL?!?!?!) of a well-known author, a brain-damaging breakdown of reality as we know it, and a 5-course buffet based entirely around toast.
So.. yeah… it’s actually not very similar.
brought to you by
THE THEATRE AS IS
the theatre company that’s not afraid to GO THERE
… and, often, stay there …
Dates: March 15, 16, 17, 18 2012
Venue: Fortune Theatre Studio
Time(s): 9:00pm (15, 16, 17), 2:00pm (18)
Duration: 80 min
Prices: Full $18, Concession $12
Tickets: fortunetheatre.co.nz, ph. 03 477-8323
Facebook: Theatre As Is
Notes: Adult Themes, wheelchair access
Starring RICHARD WEST and JIMMY CURRIN
technical operator: Michelle Mae Cameron
A wasted opportunity
Review by Patrick Davies 16th Mar 2012
Last year Theatre As Is astounded with their Dunedin Fringe offering Once Was. This year’s show. My Dinner With Dick, is loosely based on the film My Dinner With Andre, in which two men have dinner.
Richard (Richard West) has invited ages-old friend Jimmy (Jimmy Currin), now a successful actor, to dinner. He is a little apprehensive about this, we know because the internal monologue (provided off-stage via mic by Jimmy Currin) tells us. We also know it is Jimmy off stage with a mic, because the onstage Richard tells us so, and so begins a self-reflexive, hyper post-modern conversation between two men.
Richard has an agenda to the evening in which he questions Jimmy about his view of the world, little realising why and what it might mean. During the dinner, prepared onstage, we are given insight into the nature of love in its various Hesse-defined forms, while referencing everything from Slaughterhouse 5 to Philip K Dick; from Roi Colbert to aspects of Bladerunner. Ultimately the audience will be enlightened to where this evening is leading, but not much else.
The style of the piece seems to be a parody of ‘university student productions’ (no offence intended to students). The subject matter is 35+ male angst over past learning and where it has led them in their life; what love and life has taught them. This musing over their past experiences is set against whether reality is real or whether the ‘virtuality’ of Philip K. Dick’s envisioned future, Jimmy’s past drug use and moments of sublimity means we are just dreamers dreaming a dream within a dream.
Richard West’s characters are inconsistently performed and near the end pretences of character are dropped almost entirely. Scripts are onstage both as a prop and as a reference. Unfortunately the parody is so close to what was happening that what comes across is a thoroughly under-rehearsed, over-written, indulgent piece that ran 25 minutes over its advertised playing time.
As a shorter, tighter and directed piece this could have been interesting, as it was it was a waste of an opportunity.
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