Theatre Review: LoveBites
ROSALIND APPLEBY, The West Australian June 28, 2010, 11:30 am
By Peter Rutherford and James Millar
Cold winter evenings make it harder to muster enthusiasm for a night out but the Peter Rutherford (music) and James Millar (writer) production Lovebites is worth the effort.
If you want to roar with laughter, shed a tear, have a hot date or a philosophical muse, then start rugging up because this show ticks all the boxes. Lovebites is the duo's second collaboration and features the same cast that premiered the show to rave reviews in Sydney last year.
A simple set of white wooden frames is manoeuvred to evoke everything from abseiling cliffs to a florist shop as seven different couples reminisce about their first meeting. Projections on a backdrop add atmosphere but the characterisation comes primarily through the impressive singing and acting skills of the four actors.
The multi-dimensional Millar is joined by Amelia Cormack, David Harris and Sophia Ragavelas, all equally comfortable singing, dancing and flirting. Millar's snappy scenarios include a one-night stand, a Facebook romance, an air hostess liaison, a delivery man and a book club and the stories unfold with big dollops of humour, pathos and remarkably few cliches.
Rutherford's music is key to the coherence and dramatic punch of the production. Each relationship snapshot is introduced by a comic pre-recorded "jingle" establishing riffs that develop as the scene progresses.
The book club meeting of two gay men is punctuated by a comic "tick-tock" theme and a hilarious sketch "beware the tale of Annie Pluck" references Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. The deeply moving death scene is constructed entirely around a poignant solo beautifully delivered by Cormack.
After interval we hear how the relationships have developed - happily ever after or otherwise, with a few surprises along the way. The opening night audience joined in the concluding chorus. This was followed by a more serious hymn to love that met with cheers of approval.
This is a must-see, a reminder that culture always wins over comfort, even in Perth's cold spell.
Lovebites runs until Sunday.