After ten years of working their way up from the pub circuit to opening acts, Hedonism has struck fame and fortune after the release of their first album. But now they have hit a snag. They need to follow it up with a successful second album.
Presented by La Boite at The Loft theatre, Hedonism’s Second Album is a new Australian comedy from David Burton and Claire Christian.
The play opens the morning of Hedonism’s all-important recording session for their second album. The problem – it’s the morning after the weekend before. Enter balls of steel, record label exec Phil, and she’s pissed. In crisis management mode, Phil lists the very public, not to mention illegal and expensive, path of destruction the boys have left in their wake. Adding to the expensive clicking of the studio clock, the drummer (and a wombat from Australia Zoo) is nowhere to be seen.
Director Margi Brown Ash’s special brand of creatively controlled chaos was obvious in guiding this production. The action was hyperactive and story unpredictable, keeping the audience engaged for the full seventy-five or so minutes.
The play set in the greenroom of the recording studio, complete with random acts of furniture like a beanbag and a mini-tramp, gave that bachelor pad feeling, which then easily converted to one of the band’s living room later in the play. Josh McIntosh’s clever set design included a set of stairs leading up to the recording studio door off-stage, which were fully utilised by the cast adding levels and visual interest to the blocking.
Ben Hunt’s lighting design and Riley Schleinstein’s sound track helped create the party-boy atmosphere. In a play about musicians, it was great to hear even a few snippets of singing and guitar playing which helped to sell them as a band and gave the boys extra cred as actors – nicely done.
The 4-man band consists of front-man Gareth, (played by Thomas Hutchings), who has become overbearingly serious and unfashionably boring since he got clean; Chimney (Gavin Edwards), the quiet creative genius behind the group who has problems closer to home with a new bub on the way; Michael (Patrick Dwyer), the closet gay musician living under the public spotlight; and Sumo (Nicholas Gell), the loud but lovable, touch of chaos, drummer who keeps the dream alive for the band.
The chemistry of the actors in the cast was strong and their character’s were fully drawn living beings, but Gell stood out as especially thrilling to watch. His acting was idiosyncratic and impulsive which injected an electrical charge into each scene he was in. Edwards as the laid back Chimney also had an organic acting style, which helped balance out the energy onstage. It was also great to see Ngoc Phan tread the boards as the strong and sassy recording exec, Phil.
There are so many talented under-utilised actors (and script writers) in Brisbane, I can’t even begin to put into words how totally awesome, the Indie Theatre platform is, and on behalf of the theatre community, we give a whole hearted thanks and shout-out to La Boite (and QTC) for sheparding such needed programs.
Hedonism’s Second Album is not just about an Aussie band living the Rock n Roll lifestyle, but a bunch of mates trying to keep it together on the edge between fame, family, and oblivion.
Hedonism’s Second Album is a highly entertaining ride and is the perfect play to convert your non-theatre friends. Playing at The Loft in the Kelvin Grove Cultural Precinct, Hedonism’s Second Album runs until August 30.
Hedonism’s Second Album – Promo Clip.