‘Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by August 15, 2018

‘Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes’ is a contemporary presentation of the ‘Book of Revelation’, along with the retelling of various Biblical Stories and how they meet comedy (at times truly hilarious, but often manic), and BDSM – Bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. If you did not already know this meaning, then perhaps this show is not for you. This tale has been devised by who else, but one of WA’s most adventurous and daring writers, Joe Lui.

Joe has collaborated with the show’s brave, dedicated and wonderful actors, Andrew Sutherland, Jacinta Larcombe, and Michelle Aitken. Thrown in for good measure, there is even a short dialogue by an outspoken Irishman, (writing under a pseudonym) Emmett O’Regan, with writings from his ‘Unveiling the Apocalypse’. This O’Regan book studies the Catechism, explaining the end of the world and emphasising the fact that the Church has forcefully condemned all forms of millenarianism, with their belief of a beautiful future accompanied by the Second Coming of Christ.

So take a few nerve tablets and go along to see Natalie Di Risio’s production at The Blue Room Studio Theatre, 53 James Street in Northbridge. Renegade Productions are presenting this deviant, mind-boggling, camp 70-minute show at 8.30 nightly, until Saturday 25th August.

Needless to say, this is an ‘adult only’ production, but one that publicist, Kayla MacGillivray should have no trouble promoting.

 

The set, which was designed by Cherish Marrington (aided by Joe Lui), comprised grey walls decorated with ‘cave art’ drawings from the Kama Sutra; even an electrical wire plastic pipe was incorporated into a drawing! Clear plastic curtains protect the theatre’s walls from the flying bodily fluids! An old, iron framed bedstead is decked with black cotton Manchester. In the opposite corner an L-shaped rostrum acts as a small stage.

Video designer, Mia Holton, has given us Biblical texts and a simple synopsis of the passages in Revelation. The striking and exciting video graphics are projected onto the rear and side walls, giving a range from a homely flock wallpaper to hell and damnation.

The impressive lighting design was by Phoebe Pilcher who, unfortunately for her, was also stage manager. Unfortunately because cleaning the mess at the end of the show and the preparation of props for each performance would be a major task.

Joe Lui’s complex and exciting soundscape ensures no one will drop off to sleep.

Although clothing was minimal throughout, costume designer Cherish Marrington produced some delightful items, including a locust head, a little lamb and a recreation of Dorothy’s dress from the ‘Wizard of Oz’.

 

       On entering the theatre, a nude woman with a locust head is seen standing on the dais. The lights dim and words from the Book of Revelation appear on the wall (spelling?), warning of a plague of locusts. A door bursts open, and a naked man covered with eye ‘tattoos’ enters. He warns of a world of self-destruction, and how the only real safe place is home. In a loud and threatening voice this preacher warns of the city of Babylon and its loose women. Suddenly a woman wearing a strap-on dildo enters. She demonstrates her prowess and struts around seeking attention. The locust, in game show manner, then presents the couple with a score card.

        The group goes through various unseemly rites and ceremonies linked to annihilation. Eventually ‘the man’ rebels, and in a brilliant five-minute monologue (which will have your ribs sore with laughing) asks how he had been dragged into yet another lewd, Joe Lui production. The audience loved it.

       The play then swings back to Revelations, and examines its religious attitude to various sexual orientations. There is a flash forward to recent times, where we meet the U.S. Navy upper echelon, friends of Dorothy and even have an aberrant touch of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’.

       Can the world ever be redeemed?

 

The cast of Michelle Aitken, Jacinta Larcombe and Andrew Sutherland is wholly committed to the work that they devised with director Joe Lui. How often have you seen a play that has a powerful, outspoken message, only to have the director or the actors lose their nerve and present a watered-down version? This can leave the audience deeming the play a trite, waste of time. Renegade Productions NEVER loses its nerve. Over the years, director Joe has shown immense courage by tackling important topics uncompromisingly, head on. Many of his past cast members have achieved major recognition, and I have no doubt that these three bold and innovative actors have a big future ahead. Tremendous performances.

Director Joe Lui, with Dramaturg assistance by Loren Kronemeyer, as has always given the audiences not simply a play, but a total experience that includes wild lighting, pounding music, the strange props of bodily fluids, and of course a blatant un-tamed presentation. Visually the courageous performances are ‘in your face’, however, they fit into the story and amazingly the nudity does not appear to be gratuitous or pornographic.

The show draws to an end with Michelle giving us a reminder of her WAAPA rodeo choreography routine for ‘Hatch’ two years ago.

As with many Renegade Productions, you may only catch up next day with the finer details of the fast moving storyline that jumped rapidly from one theme to another.

Joe Lui’s plays can be like going to the art gallery and seeing Cy Twombly’s bizarre ‘Scribble’ ($70 million) or Barnett Newman’s naïve ‘Onement Vi’ ($44 million); many may say WTF, but for the enlightened viewer there is a huge excitement when the message dawns.

As the show leaves the audience stunned and exhausted in their seats, one can only wonder how long it will take the actors to recover, after giving their heart and soul to this performance.

The promotion promised ‘You’ve never seen anything quite like ‘Unveiling’’, an understatement. Sure to sell out quickly.