Actually argued

Love/Hate Actually (Act/React)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Studio

November 20 – December 3

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The film “Love Actually” was on free-to-air tv last week, which was of luck for the makers of “Love/Hate Actually”… although maybe not particularly coincidental given the 2003 romantic comedy’s place as a seminal Christmas favourite. As implied by the show’s title, having a familiarity with the film is needed, but let’s face it, who doesn’t, given its place as the most noteworthy Christmas movie of the modern era. Turns out though, that not everyone is a fan of its saccharine sentimentality. Indeed, even within friendships it can cause disagreement all around.

Amy loves it. Natalie hates it. Who’s right? Amy thinks the film “Love Actually” represents everything good about the human experience of love while Natalie believes it to be unrealistic and manipulative crap. These two long-time creative collaborators are staking their friendship on the ultimate test – an audience vote. In doing so they take the audience through recall of the ensemble cast and their ten separate but interlinked stories in consideration of whether they are simply lovely or shallow and pointless plotlines.

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Natalie Bochenski is purposely persuasive in her use of logic and reason to outline the film’s manipulation and overall awfulness courtesy of an actively annoying Kiera Knightly, but an admittedly watchable Colin Firth. And in her pie chart expose of the script’s almost 100 distinct scenes, she is very convincing in expose of its problematic continuity and uncomfortable content of unlikely scenarios, stalkers and fat shaming. Richard Curtis disciple Amy Currie is contrastingly emotional in her gushing about what she considers to be a heart-warming romantic comedy encapsulating all that is wonderful about the festive season.

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The respective arguments that follow allow opportunity for much humour, however, some of the biggest laughs come from when concerns are given further consideration through trademark Act/React audience involvement in segments such as ‘Art of Porn?’ As always, this ‘volunteer’ participation is not confrontational, but well-supported and still very funny. Our male Mia was particularly entertaining is sexy show of what is not appropriate when it comes to workplace behaviours and office dialogue.

Even if do not think of love as surprise trombones, you are sure to find “Love/Hate Actually” thoroughly entertaining as each performer throws herself into her passionate presentation. With turtlenecks and bit with signs, it is sure to appeal to Colin Firth fans and Hugh Grant groupies alike (especially in its ‘All we want is Colin and Hugh’ musical number). And its reminder of the movie’s gaping logical flaws of post 9/11 airport security lapses and the gift of a CD to a woman who, as a Joni Mitchell fan would assumedly already own it, will only validate those who share in the frustrations.

Whether you are Team Natalie or Team Amy, is a decision that in itself if full of merriment as the audience decides who is right. … not that it really matters because the joy of this loving tribute/savage takedown of the best/worst rom-com of all time, is more about the journey than the destination. Hopefully it is an experience that reappears on our stages again soon, regardless of if it is Christmas season.

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