Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Narcissist

Last night, Mk and I saw The Narcissist at the Drama Theatre in the Opera House. A gay political staffer has a bet with his female best friend as to which of them will be the first to land a boyfriend before the end of the year.

The Sydney Theatre Company blurb asserts "this politically incorrect comedy of manners promises to be one of the funniest nights you'll have this year!"

Well....not Mk nor myself.

Mk was stony faced throughout and felt the play was juvenile and the worst example of the No Sex We're British style of 1970s humour. Unlike Mk, I thought there were a lot of funny lines in the play but they fell dead for me because of the way the play was performed.

The lead actor played his character in mincing gay style somewhat like the Jack McFarland character in Will and Grace. This irritated me and detracted from any appreciation of the lines he was delivering. Adding confusion to the mix, the second male character flounced on stage at his first appearance and for the next fifteen minutes I assumed he was meant to be gay too until it dawned on me from the unfolding action that he in fact was a straight character, albeit rather juvenile.

The narrative was muddled with inconsistencies and changes in the characterisations mid stream added to the mess.

It was a disappointing night for us both although, to be fair, all around us in the packed auditorium were having a rollicking good time and clearly found the play hilarious. Perhaps this work is how straights imagine or expect all gays behave.

The most interesting aspect of the night for Mk and myself was keeping an eye on Richard E Grant, the British actor, who is in Sydney to play Professor Higgins in a revival of My Fair Lady. Grant sat in front of us and we tried to gauge how he was enjoying the work. Neither of us observed him to laugh at any stage. He applauded the cast politely at the end and then like us made a speedy departure. Perhaps he had a dinner date.

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