It's a pretty rare thing for me to go to a performance of any kind with no expectations. Because I am naturally curious and have no patience by the time I get to the theatre or cinema I have usually read reviews of the show and googled it sufficiently that, if I haven't actually spoiled the ending for myself, I've at least gained a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Last night was an exception as Lindsay and I trotted off to see the WAAPA production of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love. Despite Lindsay having (allegedly) written a story on the production neither of us had any idea what to expect, other than the promise of full frontal nudity.
That was how we walked into the wrong theatre.
"It looks like we've wandered onto the set of Fame," Lindsay said as we sat down. Indeed it did. Dancers limbering up on stage? An orchestra tuning up for... something? Schoolchildren in the front row? "Surely this is a bit risque for kids?" I said, feeling about 105 years old as I said it. Lindsay didn't answer because she had just caught a glimpse of our neighbour's program. We were in the theatre for a WAAPA production of West Side Story.
A few embarrassing minutes later we were in the right theatre for the right show, debating whether or not we would have run out when the overture started and the strains of Maria brought the truth home to us.
The very idea of drama students irritates me. I didn't particularly care for the drama crowd at school and that distaste has always sort of stuck around with me. Pretentious wanks, I like to call them, until such time as they prove themselves to be otherwise. So, nudity aside, I was prepared to be coldly indifferent to Human Remains. Instead I found myself drawn into the story - which was basically about relationships with a little serial killer action on the side - almost immediately and, much to my surprise (disappointment?), the acting was almost universally very good.
The guy playing the main character David (Elan Zavelsky) was just amazing and surely destined for future good things, while the guy playing his friend Bernie (Jai Courtney) was great in an unforgiving role. The chicks were all okay but nothing special (god I'm cruel to my own sex) and I've saved the best for last because the blessed playwright or perhaps the director managed to create a character just for me in the form of Kane (Will O'Mahony... call me) who not only sported the particular brand of scruffy con-wearing boy I love but did a pretty job on the ol' acting front too.
Despite the occasional dated feel of a few of the verbal references (the original play was written in 1989) and the odd bit that grated here and there I thought the whole thing was incredibly engaging and very well done. The show ends on Thursday, June 21 (as in tonight, unless any of you are up late and reading this, in which case... um that's weird but nice) and is really worth seeing if you're into that sort of thing.