Sexy Dead Schoolboys, written by Lindsay Templeton and Jake Stewart and directed also by Stewart, really doesn’t seem to give much of a shit – in the best way.
Opening the show by shattering the fourth wall is, surprisingly, done to great effect. The actors had spent all of pre-show milling around the stage. Chatting, joking, waving to their friends in the audience. This breaking of the theatrical norms and expectations isn’t as jarring as I expected it to be when I noticed it happening. In fact it’s refreshing, and it allows for a seamless flow into the beginning of the play when the actors step forward, as themselves, to deliver the prologue. This meta (self-aware) element of the show continues throughout the piece, as actors dropout of character to chat directly to the audience or clarify what will happen next. While occasionally a little forced and maybe a tad unnecessary it is overall a refreshing element of the piece that is remarkably well executed.
The fiction of the play itself is not pleasant. As you can probably guess, there are schoolboys, they consider themselves sexy, and they’re dead. But that’s not what the play is about, and this is where it gets interesting.
The actors explain in the prologue that the play is asking the question “what if they hadn’t died?” and that’s what we see. We see the lives of these boys play out, the dramas and the spills. The filth, I mean that literally, and the sex. This is interesting because we expect to see happy lives lived that were cruelly snatched away by that faithful bus crash, but that’s not what we see at all. Instead five boys turn to men and spectacularly crash and burn their lives over and over again.
Patrick Cook as Sam is a standout performer. However all the performers threw themselves wholeheartedly into a challenging and demanding work
It’s engaging, it’s filthy, it’s theatre stripped completely bare and it’s gripping. The script itself could use a fair bit of a cut to remove the serious lulls that occur in its two-hour run time. Sexy Dead Schoolboys is definitely one to see this Midsumma, shame it’s incredibly, and deservedly, sold out.