Boys will be boys

Hedonism’s Second Album (La Boite Indie, David Burton & Claire Christian)

The Loft

August 13 – 30

Having found fame and fortune, Brisbane-based band, Hedonism is now faced with the anticipation of second album syndrome. After a decade together rocking the pub circuit, the band has become family, but as they meet in a suburban recording studio, it is soon clear that it is a family that is falling apart, with things culminating in a hedonistic weekend bender of booze, bikies, girls and an Australia Zoo wombat. With a media scandal ensuing, it is up to hot—shot, feisty-female producer Phil to get the album (and thus the band) back on track.

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As much as the boys’ behaviour lives up to the Rock n Roll lifestyle cliché, “Hedonism’s Second Album” is about so much more than just this. Rather, it is the story of a group of mates trying to steer their collective course through some testing times, struggling with their own demons. The vocab used by the boys is frequently crude and offensive (second only to “A Clockwork Orange” as a sweary stage experience for me), however, probably accurately reflects a younger person’s vernacular and the changing nature of linguistic acceptability. And there is more to David Burton and Claire Christian’s script than just this. Much of the show’s rapid-delivery dialogue relies on sardonic humour, yet is also contains a number of well-scripted conversations and even some touching monologues to bring out the nuances of character.

And there are certainly some characters within the group – from gay bass player Michael (Patrick Dwyer) to party-hard drummer Sumo (Nicholas Gell). In terms of performances, the standout comes not from Thomas Hutchins as newly-clean front-man Gareth, but Gell as Sumo, a man who is abrasive and loud, but also lost in the ruin of himself and his experiences of always being dismissed by the others. If a playwright’s job is to pierce the clouds that obscure human behaviour, then Burton and Christian have done their job well.

One of the most appealing elements of Burton and Christian’s writing is that it deals with people with whom we can probably all identify and that their stories are set within an equally easily identifiable local setting. Like their “Brisbane(A Doing Word)”, “Hedonism’s Second Album” includes a number of geographic references, from explanation of the origins of Boundary Road, to a sly dig at skinny-jean-wearing Melbournians.

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Far from traditional theatre, as a tale of men struggling in search of their identity, “Hedonism’s Second Album” is a welcome addition to Brisbane’s cruisy arts scene. Apart from some distracting pseudo-fighting mis-hits, it is an enjoyable, lively show; the writing is witting and the performances are all assured.

Photos c/o – https://www.facebook.com/HedonismsSecondAlbum

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