EFR - Reviews of Lust in Translation

Lust in Translation

Sat 18th – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Steve Hartill

at 10:37 on 19th Aug 2012

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This play is an interesting, if mildly upsetting, product of our generation. As a student going into my final year I should have many similarities with the main character of the play, Tom (Sam Whyte). Unfortunately, Tom, whose last name is Selleck, (a joke which I personally find entirely unnecessary, as it fails to get any significant laughter out of the audience and has little to no impact on the plot) is entirely unlikeable as are the rest of the characters. Maybe Tom is meant to be this way, as he relies mainly on awkward jokes. The play’s plot revolves around his quest to find a woman who is willing to spend time with him. Cue his meeting Sarah (Caitlin Foley) at university. The main character has friends who add very few elements to the story, and there are no twists and turns, but only a long drawn-out progression to an unsatisfying conclusion where Tom confesses his love and Sarah stalls. However, there are two characters of marginal interest: Ferdinand, (Jack Dormer) one of Tom’s friends, and the Narrator (Aaron Banker). Ferdinand seems to actually have a far more interesting sub-plot than that of the play and manages to engender some sympathy in the audience, while the Narrator gets to deliver some witty lines in his voice-over sections.

The acting is generally unenthusiastic and James (Sam Courtney) seems particularly uncomfortable on stage. The dialogue is made up of cliché after relentless cliché, with Tom’s dialogue little more than an array of stereotypes providing the “lads” conversation, and Sarah and her friend being the female equivalent. The show would improve significantly with a little more rehearsal time and a few tweaks to the script.

The stage is simple, set with only a sofa and bed, the sofa being surrounded by some scattered litter, and they use some occasional lighting and music to create some entertaining breaks as club scenes. But these aspects of the play gather little favour in the face of the rest of the production. It actually disappoints me as a portrayal of my generation. In the end, it possesses a listless script and unconvincing acting that fizzles out as some sort of opposite to an ending.

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Mel Melville

at 10:53 on 19th Aug 2012

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This is a play that focuses on the trials and tribulations of a bunch of teenage kids that appear to have very little understanding of life experience. A narrator opens the show by ensuring us that we can feel free to laugh at either funny lines delivered by the actors or at the misfortunes that the characters experience. This led me to believe that the play is slightly ironic and written mainly to mock university love lives. Unfortunately, as the play progresses it becomes increasingly clear that it is only the narrator that understands any kind of sarcasm or wit. Swearing is amongst the key features in this play and annoyingly, these kids simply don’t understand the prime time to swear.

Like much of this play, the swearing is extremely artificial. I cannot solely blame the actors, for I believe that the script is poorly written: instead of the play capturing student life, it feels as if a fourteen-year-old whose brother is at university has written the play. Sam Whyte, as Tom Selleck, depicts an awkward student gagging for a lady friend well; he is consistent throughout and is most certainly a likeable person – "dorky but endearing." Much of the time, Whyte’s facial expressions and comedic silences provide the humour that the terribly written script failed to do.

Contrastingly, the stage set did depict a student’s life, with plenty of empty food boxes and the sofa at the centre of attention. Jack Dormer plays Ferdinard, a character that is hugely depressed due to suffering a break-up. Despite his character not being the focus of attention, whenever he is on stage he dominates it with his brilliant delivery and great physicality, constantly clutching his dressing gown and soft toys whilst seeking comfort. Parts of the play where music and dance depict the scenes are artistic and provide well-earned diversity for the audience. Cross-dressing makes an appearance early on and there are plenty of sexual scenes to follow; amongst terrible one-liners, awkward chat-up lines and a poor attempt at womanising, much of the play is seemingly uncomfortable to watch and this is followed by plenty of nothingness in conversation.

The seating arrangements are not perfect and a few members of the audience may unfortunately experience staring into the backs of the actors throughout the entire show. Meanwhile, the ending is abrupt and frustratingly dissatisfying. All in all, a disappointing production.

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