REVIEW: What’s Love Got To Do With It? | TCRF

Image by Emily Friend
Image by Emily Friend

In her 80s hit song, Tina Turner asks ‘who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?’ This is something that anyone who’s ever been burned by love would just really like to know. Who hasn’t been burned by love in some form or fashion, but does that mean we’d want to kill love off completely with a pill? This is the premise of The Cutting Room Floor‘s latest offering at The Blue Room this month, and they’re having a good time working out an answer to Ms. Turner’s eternal question for us.

Devised by a group of WAAPA Bachelor of Performing Arts students for Tilt 2015 at The Blue Room, and reworked with the addition of a few new folks for one of Blue Room’s main stage seasons, WLGTDWI is a fun little piece from TCRF. It’s got plenty of bright ideas, laughs and spunk, and though it might not be breaking any new ground on the subject of love and/or pharmaceuticals, it’s a very enjoyable hour spent.

A pharmaceutical company is on the brink of releasing a drug to ‘cure’ love in humans, and the pharma’s board just needs one successful clinical trial to get it to market. So they find the perfect candidate in Jacinta Larcombe (or, her character, rather), who has just had her heart broken; she decides to check herself in to the pharma’s Heartbreak Hotel and start her time as a clinical guinea pig.

In the meantime, the board is coming up with all kinds of reasons to demonstrate to the public and the shareholders why love is just awful, while some of them are having affairs and still others are striking out in the dating scene. The chairwoman, Board Member Number 3, is determined that the company will make billions, and does a little coercion and strongarming to get her way.

Director Rachael Woodward (who was in on the original devising) gives the cast plenty of quick movement to keep the pace snappy, also making them climb the furniture to add levels to the stage pictures. The good thing is, the actors don’t miss a beat and don’t miss a step. The tone is satirical, with allusions to pharma advertising, movie cliches, and little vignettes that reflect what we humans in love subject ourselves to. There’s a naivety to some of the ideas and plot twists, but it’s best not to poke too many holes. Just enjoy the sentiment and the quirky moments by all of these fresh-faced performers.

The test subject’s storyline doesn’t feel fully developed, and perhaps her fate isn’t as impactful as it could have been – there’s a great chance for her to have the last word and the biggest punchline of them all, but sadly that potential wasn’t quite met. Zoe Hollyoak just about steals the show at many points, and I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but her impersonation of the Pope is just a hoot, and she knows how to trump her innocent, ingenue looks with a wicked sense of humour.

Mariah O’Dea performs what would ostensibly be the ingenue part with sweetness and sincerity, while Phoebe Sullivan plays the steely, manipulative Board Member Number 3 with enough conviction to be a pretty scary as she laughs maniacally standing atop the boardroom table. The two Tristans (Tristan McInnes and Tristan Balz) do their best to keep their hands clean and their heads off the chopping block. And speaking of hands, if there’s one thing that drew my attention out of this funny pharma romp, it was that the actors frequently didn’t know what to do with their hands. It’s an age-old actor’s problem, nearly as ancient as the questions ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’ and ‘who needs a heart?’ but it’s probably easier to get rid of than Love itself.

 

CICELY BINFORD

TCRF’s What’s Love Got To Do With It? is on now until June 25th at 7pm. For more information and tickets, visit The Blue Room website here.

 

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