Love You Bitch strikes as if David Mamet had decided to write a queer script – though well written the characters and dialogue feels utterly contrived and far too clever for its own good.
An all too familiar formula is presented on stage – close friends coming together to see one of them off, leading to long buried secrets coming to light. Nothing felt fresh or interesting, even when the script works hard to convince you otherwise.
None of the characters are particularly likable but perhaps, that is the point. There are excellent moments that make each character face their privilege and place in the grand scheme of things, moments that provide much needed levity, but soon the work derails back to a cliche track of dialogue.
Alberto Di Troia is a good writer, there is no question, but not a consistent one. It is hard to follow the many threads pulled within the work, with any attempt to weave them together feeling forced and contrived.
Di Troia does have a hilarious and joyful grasp of pop culture and the way in which it can dictate queer culture – using this skill with full force to push moments to uncomfortable limits.
Hannah Fallowfield’s direction gives the work a sense of reality but this comes at the cost of pacing. The production lags, causing dialogue to be stilted and any stakes diminish, leaving little to keep the audience interested. The action on stage feels justified however, with frequent exit and entrances seeming natural and actors appearing comfortable with their surroundings.
Alex Thew, Kurt Pimblett and Tenielle Thompson weave through the text with varying degrees of believability. Thompson carries the work – seamlessly moving through the work and adding a sense of gravity to the text.
Nothing about their performance feels forced or contrived, displaying the ability to hold the audience’s attention in the palm of their hand on more than one occasion.
Stage Mom is fast becoming a company to watch – sassy, smart and utterly hilarious. Though Love You Bitch felt like a miss audiences should be very excited yo see what they have in store next.
Love You Bitch
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St. Kilda
Performance: Monday 26 April 2021
Season: 24 – 28 April 2021 (ended)
Image: Love You Bitch – photo by Peter Frith
Review: Gavin Roach