‘Tissue’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 16, 2016

‘Tissue’ is an unusual, vivacious play; the brainchild of two WAAPA graduates, Samantha Maclean and Timothy Green who along with the cast devised this topical show. It examines the world of porn voyeurs in Australia. Do they all they simply having a quick casual glimpse once a month? Or are there more dedicated porn site followers, with strange demands?

Although this 55-minute, adult performance does not contain nudity as such, it does have attractive skimpy underwear, sexually explicit dialogue and raunchy acting, so it is recommended for ages 15 plus.

This daring Blue Room / Clara Loveny production can be seen at the Blue Room Studio Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge nightly at 8.30 pm. The season runs until Saturday 26th November with a matinée at 6.00 pm on Saturday 26th November.

 

Joshua Walker’s set comprises a large white dais, 60 cms high, centre stage, with a further smaller dais giving a pyramidal effect. Stage manager is Katie Moore. The lighting (design by Rhiannon Petersen) varied from the red-hot, sex scenes, to the cooler informal meetings, when a blend of UV and blue light was employed.

Leanne Puttick’s musical composition gave the perfect background to the variety of scenes.

 

        The theatre is pitch dark. Heavy breathing and panting can be heard. The lights rise to show two girls and a boy who are finishing a webcam porn scene. There is a fade to black.

        We see Alex (Elijah Melvin), a chef who is on his way home from work. He meets Zoe (Taryn Ryan), a shy veterinary surgeon who works at the local Animal Shelter. After a day’s work, Zoe smells of animal pee. She apologises to Alex, they laugh and the couple arrange to meet another evening.

        As a relief from his day’s work, and with Zoe in mind, Alex opens up his $35 a month, porn site and settles down for a night of solo, guilty pleasure. Zoe tells her friend, Nicola (Ann-Marie Biagioni) who works in a sex shop, about her new boyfriend. Nicola has a wealth of knowledge and plenty of sexual advice for her naïve friend.

        The relationship becomes adventurous, but seems to be going down a track that both do not seem agree upon. However, what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom – or does it?

 

Sex is always a difficult topic to depict on the stage, but Samantha Maclean and Timothy Green have blended plenty of humour into the storyline, helping make the topic more acceptable. Often directors and playwrights, possibly due to their own awkwardness, will hint at what they mean and the audience can quickly spot this discomfort, and in turn become embarrassed. Our daring scriptwriters jump wholeheartedly into the fray, no punches pulled. Occasionally, the actors chat with a friendly, informal air (and non-threateningly) to audience members, this helps the patrons feel part of their instructive adventure.

The bold, courageous actors are faced with quick, tongue-twisting dialogue and numerous acrobatic positions, and yet the pace of the show did not miss a beat. There were powerful and quite touching performances by this talented team.

I left the theatre a fully educated, satisfied punter.