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Devilish decadence and desire in Farrar’s Lovers From Hell



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

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