Allen Hall Theatre, University of Otago, Dunedin

24/06/2014 - 28/06/2014

Production Details

Freddy and Ana are a couple with a lot of love and a lot of baggage. Freddy is a part-time stand-up, part-time drunk; Ana wants him to change, but doesn’t want to lose him. 

Then Ana finds out she’s pregnant, and the couple are faced with a dreaded need to become responsible adults. With the ties that bind them already strained, can they stand the pressure? 

Or will they break apart? 

First staged at Wellington’s BATS Theatre in 2007, Gavin McGibbon’s Stand-Up Love rips off the scabs of relationships past, present and future and asks if you can stand the open wounds. 

Tuesday 24th until Saturday the 28th June 2014, 7:30pm

Orion Clark
Nell Guy

Curiously intimate perspective on despair

Review by Kimberley Buchan 28th Jun 2014

Gavin McGibbon’s Stand Up Love is the story of a fraught relationship between a declining stand-up comedian and his muted girlfriend Ana, played by Nell Guy. The play begins when red flags are already appearing in the relationship. 

Freddy (Orion Carey Clark) plays the stereotype of the moody comedian with a dark side, who unfortunately is not a successful enough comedian to balance out his misery. He drowns his sorrows while trying to wall them away from everyone. His outdated belief in ‘treat ’em mean, keep ’em wanting to fix you’ leads to a long suffering relationship.

The discontented Ana tries desperately to connect, but it is only with pure fury that this ever happens. While she adores the impulsively entertaining side of an irresponsible partner, fear sets in when reality comes crashing home in the form of her pregnancy. The tension between them is already fraying the ties that bind them together and this leads to some unexpected reactions to the possibility of Ana and Freddy becoming responsible parents.

Comedy is something that is supposed to make difficult things easier to deal with by slashing them down to size, or providing release. The way Freddy uses comedy in this play is as a raw plea to love him, to forgive him. The pain behind this makes it very difficult to laugh at but Carey Clark’s delivery of some of these jokes is successful in gaining a reaction from the audience nonetheless. 

The theatre in-the-round staging of the play provides a curiously intimate perspective in some moments even though all you can see is the top of the actors’ heads as they lie on the bed. Thankfully, director Adam Goodall ensures enough variety in the positioning on stage for this not to become tedious.

Nell Guy gives an understated performance as Ana. This does make for realistically awkward relationship moments as one glance away from Freddy can contain a multitude of emotions. Guy really hits the note the first time she picks up the microphone and speaks directly to the audience. Her narrative at this point becomes filled with real feeling.

Orion Carey Clark plays the mood swings of Freddy well. He is erratic, unreasonable and dependant. His efforts to seal off the hurt from his past results in the torment becoming an ever-present pain. While both characters state they enjoy being together, in truth this is never really felt. Stand Up Love drives both of them to despair. 


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