Review of The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You

The Stage

Publication Date: 25 June, 2012

By Barbara Lewis

Falling in love, the programme note declares, is gender-neutral – and in this particular exploration of the chemistry, wonder and irritation that bind two people, the subjects happen to be gay men.

The effect is to ratchet up a notch the piquancy of an age-old theme and the inherent drama in the tension of a couple, without detracting from the universality of writer-director Justen Bennett’s arch, refreshing text.

As the lovers in question, Ryan Wichert and Max Wilson engage us from the first heart-beat. They then draw in the audience, not so much through the flimsy plot line, but through dramatic devices, for the most part resonant enough to avoid being mere gimmicks.

We begin with games – literal games played out through well-executed, physical theatre rough and tumble, which are also metaphors for the emotional games couples play – and progress to a “multiple man band”. Everyone, audience and cast alike, is in makeshift harmony until one half of the couple breaks free in “some sort of moment of shining independence”.

They’re reconciled through more games, verbal gymnastics and fantastic underwater and overland adventures, which we are repeatedly reminded, have to go the way they go. Right until the very end, they could go either way.

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