You thought you knew Geoff Paine, the nice guy from Neighbours in the 80’s? He thought he knew himself until he head butted his next door neighbour. The result of this outburst was a broken nose (the neighbours, not his) and a compulsory Anger Management session. The fruits of his labour is a short play Unpack This! Which explores all the hypocrisy, flaring emotions, analysis and jargon contained in an Anger Management session.
Trev (Syd Brisbane) and Lorraine (Michelle Nussy) run the session with a white board and much self importance. There are six eclectic attendees. Neighbours good guy Geoff plays; Nguyem a practical but insistent Vietnamese man, Nico a boxer trying to reign it in, and himself. Actor Ross Daniels plays; Reg a senior citizen who has had a grumpy verbal outburst at a neighbour (forgetting that he was holding an axe in his hand), Bogden a hoodie wearing hooligan and Brian — another normal guy we aren’t quite sure needs to attend this particular class…
Geoff’s Vietnamese accent was impressive, and both Geoff and Ross slid between characters cleverly and smoothly.The truth with which they portrayed in what otherwise would have been stereotypical characters was wonderful. Similarly, the utmost realism and down-to-earth nature they possessed in as Geoff (aka himself) and Brian was truly a joy to watch.
As they unpack their emotions you cringe with some of the characters and cringe at others. There are certainly some entertaining jabs taken at the justice systems process of dealing with violent outbursts. For me, it questioned the nature of anger: when does Anger become a problem? Is violence always pre meditated? If you have anger towards a person is it due to your unfavourable perception of them?
If you enjoy a night at the theatre that is both thought provoking and tickles your funny bone unpack your wallet because this Melbourne Comedy Festival performance is for you.