Review: The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You
at the Blue Elephant Theatre
Two men. Instant attraction. A relationship? The characters A and B just ‘knew’, when they met that they would connect. But can they make this connection work beyond the moment? Do they want to? In his second play Canadian writer/director Justen Bennett explores the emotional maze that makes up a relationship – or not. In a string of mainly unconnected scenes A and B share magic moments, irritate each other and enjoy games. It is gender-neutral, but Max Wilson as A and Ryan Wichert as B brilliantly play the couple that has gone on the adventurous journey of a relationship. They also gently integrate the audience into the performance, which works perfectly well in this intimate setting. With only two small suitcases that contain props the actors capture the audience’s attention. The show is funny, poetic and playful. It seems like a younger version of – or prequel to – Jesse Schwenk’s ‘Orangelove’, which could be seen at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff a few years ago. There, too, the story of two characters was told through movement, dance and little scenes that brought a wonderful text to life. Both offer a performance style that is far removed from convention – it is refreshing and moving without being abstract at all. One of the memorable scenes Justen Bennett created shows the couple when they first meet on a park bench and, very touchingly, share a biscuit. Another shows them exploring the under water world. Only some passages could be a bit tighter, apart from that, the show is full of originality and delights.
By Eliane Marie