Love/Hate Actually (Act/React)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Turbine Studio
November 22 – 25
I hate “Love Actually” and its inappropriate behaviour and ridiculous logic lapses. My theatre buddy for opening night of “Love/Hate Actually”, meanwhile, loves it actually. So we represented the perfect audience mix for the smash hit Wonderland Festival comedy showdown between long-time creative collaborators Amy and Natalie.
Despite being 15 years old now, “Love Actually”, it seems, is still causing arguments all around. Having a familiarity with the film is needed, however, if you haven’t seen it recently that’s alright as things start with a quick recap of the ‘plot’ and its many interwoven storylines. Natalie Bochenski is passionate in her take-down of the film’s transparent foreshadowing, presenting a convincing argument of Ted-talkish logic, complete with script breakdown pie charts as testament to its problematic content and audience manipulation. Amy Currie is, by contrast, emotionally invested in the sentiment shaped by the heart-warming charm of the film’s bumbling turtle-necked British actors. And there are laughs aplenty as each woman debates her argument.
As with the work’s 2017 Wonderland Festival season, some of the biggest laughs come from when we move from personal disputes to trademark Act/React audience involvement in segments such as ‘Art of Porn?’ The funniest section, however, sees audience members on-stage assuming the roles of Alan Rickman’s Harry and ‘sex-harlot’ assistant Mia in enactment of film scenarios from a workplace behaviour training perspective.
“Love/Hate Actually” is what it promises to be, a part double act, part film lecture, part games show. Sure, it is rough around the edges at times and less effective when performer rants stray from the core content of the film, but when opening night plans sometimes go astray, Bochenski, in particular, shows her quick wit with obviously ad-libs that are not only very funny but fit with the show’s organic feel.
Whether you think the movie sucks actually, because of Kiera fucking Knightly or otherwise, or you worship at the altar of all things Richard Curtis, “Love/Hate Actually” has much to offer in its irreverence and humour. As for its verdict about the film’s validity as a Christmas season classic, well that will all come down to an audience vote.