Review by Emma Whitelaw
HOMO and hetero shenanigans are afoot for Hollywood screenwriter
Robert Farrar’s latest production Lovers from Hell.
Oval House Theatre plays host to a series of
three short plays that are guaranteed to set your pulse racing.
As described by Farrar, 'from sensual daydreams to treasure forever
to erotic nightmares beyond any measure' the show is an eclectic
mix of desire, passion, the fulfilment of fantasies and the comic
genius from the writer that brought us The Man Who Knew Too Little,
starring Bill Murray, and the award-winning Bedrooms and Hallways.
Shocking content can often be used to conceal a writer’s
lack of talent. But this is far from the case when it comes to
Farrar; he truly is a gifted playwright!
Each play is linked by the theme of sexual madness and confusion.
But that is where the similarity ends. All three plays are very
different in style, tone and genre. Farrar has certainly taken
the opportunity to showcase his literary prowess and boy has he
done it well.
The first play, Complex, had the audience in
stitches with its shocking revelations and its comic twist on
Freud’s Oedipus syndrome.
The characters are sublime - Abbie,
played by the delightful Mari-Claire Turley, is a saucy little
minx that will do everything in her power to seduce the man she
has been obsessed with for years (I won't spoil the plot but believe
me the girl is sick!).
James Holmes absolutely stole the show with his eccentric portrayal
of kinky guesthouse manager, Sandy, in Get the Guest,
a hilarious tale concerning post coital guilt, sexual compulsion
and mistaken identity.
Unsuspecting male patrons to the Western super Mare BnB are lured
into compromising positions, taken advantage of, and then tossed
aside in the most obscene way. Nick Malinowski is superb as Fred,
the ill-fated businessman who falls into Sandy’s trap.
Holmes and Malinowski show their darker sides in the final play
of the night, The Smell of Asparagus Pee. Originally
written by Shaun Levin, but adapted for the stage by Farrar, it
is a monologue for two.
It is an extraordinarily dark and poetic portrait of an abandoned
lover who longs for the touch and caress of the one who’s
left him high and dry.
Lovers from Hell also features a seven-minute playlet,
Donut. The mini-play provides a much needed laugh
after the severity of the preceding piece.
It features the immensely talented Todd Boyce and Daniel Higley
appearing butt naked and fighting over a box of donuts –
possibly enough to put one off the sugary delights for life, but
a good laugh just the same.
Guaranteed girlish giggles all round!
Lovers from Hell : Complex – Get The Guest –
The Smell of Asparagus Pee – Donut, by Robert Farrar and
Shaun Levin. Directed by Phil Setren and Robert Farrar. Starring
Todd Boyce, Mari-Claire Turley, James Holmes, Nick Malinowski
and Daniel Higley. February 23 to March 12, 2005. Wednesday to
Saturday 7:45pm at Oval House Theatre (downstairs) 52-54 Kennington
Oval, London, SE11 5SW. Box Office 020 7582 7680