Review: I love you now, Eternity Theatre

i_love_you_nowI Love You Now, a new Australian work from writer Jeanette Cronin, is enjoying its world premiere at the Darlinghurst Theatre until July 9.

The lights go up to reveal a modern hotel suite queen bed, the centrepiece of the action and where more than one rendezvous will occur.

On set behind the bed framed by large clear windows is the musical team: keyboardist Max Lambert accompanied by guitarist Roger Lock. This heralds and enhances the sense of intimacy that will engulf the audience as the characters take the stage. Rose petals sprayed across the musicians’ feet and long-stemmed roses beside the bed bring to mind a scene from Sam Mendes’ American Beauty.

Not sure what it concludes except that marriage is never easy. At least for June and Leo: both in a world of ignorant bliss they seek lovers for confirmation. Or validation in their ignorance. Leo loved June, but now he loves Michelle. June is having an affair with Rob, Leo’s brother. On the side, Leo is also having an affair with Melissa, the nanny. Meanwhile, June is also seeing Helmut, her personal trainer.

i_love_you_now_web5Director Kim Hardwick has to perform some hefty tricks as the two actors, Jeanette Cronin and Paul Gleeson, play all the characters. This is no easy feat. Nor is it for the audience. Keeping up with the Kardashians? More like keeping up with June and Leo, or June and Helmet, or June and Robert, or Leo and Michelle…or was it Melissa?

All this confusion keeps the audience wondering who is who rather than what is being said. Many important concepts are lost within the transitions and between each character and situation. Gleeson covers with slight changes of stutter and priest-like mannerisms and for the more obvious personal trainer named Helmet, with crisp abs and a German accent. Cronin battles with throwing clothes on and off, left on, half off or none at all. There’s also a pair of glasses that make an appearance but get lost in the heat of passion and transition between characters.

The musical score is used to powerfully emphasise the shakiness of relationships and deep reflections but at significant moments it drowns out the dialogue, adding to the confusion.

The conceptual content is there and has great power, but the constant transitions of characters, change of pace and musical exuberance means the actors are lost in the dance that is I Love You Now.

I love you now plays at Eternity Theatre, Burton Street, Darlinghurst until July 9. Book online or call (02) 8356 9987.

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