Leopard Print Loincloth begins with a lot of promise that sadly peters out before ever finding its groove. The atmosphere upon entering the theatre was very relaxed and informal, with the audience invited to sit where they like and treated to Zoopa Doopas and a warm welcoming smile from the creative team. This definitely wasn’t your usual night at the theatre.
The first of many vignettes was a strong start to the work. Cheeky and witty writing delivered with gusto by the ensemble on stage drew the audience in from the get go and set the pace and tone for an interesting night ahead.
In a rather disjointing move however, the director Dominic Weintruab and writer Jake Stewart took to the stage to explain the premise of the play, the development process and what they hoped to explore – promises that weren’t quite met throughout the work.
There is no denying that Stewart is a solid writer, his playful approach to structure allows the actors to comfortably navigate the more complex moments of dialogue and feel grounded during exaggerated characterisations. There were, unfortunately, moments of brilliant writing lessened by sole creative choices. Beautiful and heartfelt monologues that were left undermined by a directorial decision that didn’t quite mesh.
As each scene unfolded the intent behind the work seemed to fade into the background. Dialogue became more verbose and difficult to connect with and the staging seemed more about stripping the actors bare, literally, than making strong creative choices.
The ensemble of actors were in fine form, bouncing from one character and moment to another with ease. There was an obvious sense of camaraderie, which allowed them room to trust and play and give little sparks of surprise.
Leopard Print Loincloth was met with a thunderous applause, which aspects of the work deserved, however it didn’t quite shake the feeling that the work didn’t quite know what it was or wanted to say, leaving little for the audience to leave with.
Leopard Print Loincloth
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Performance: Wednesday 5 February 2020 – 9.00pm
Season: 4 – 8 February 2020 (closed)
For more information, visit: www.kissingboothproductions.com for details.
Image: Leopard Print Loincloth – photo by Billy Hennessy
Review: Gavin Roach