We must thank playwrights who show just how hard it is to be being wealthy, middle aged and white. It can’t be easy, especially when nasty povo commy bloggers create sites like White Whine or Stuff White People Like.
Presented by: Melbourne Theatre Company
Venue: Sumner Theatre
Thursday, 2 June, 2011
We must thank playwrights who show just how hard it is to be being wealthy, middle aged and white. It can’t be easy, especially when nasty povo commy bloggers create sites like White Whine or Stuff White People Like. How dare they make fun of things they don’t understand. It must be really horrible seeing satire on your iPad2. So it’s wonderful that the MTC is there to assure their subscribers that it’s OK; it really is OK to be better at spending than making money.
The Gift is another poor rich people story. Dammit, they have feelings too!
The design is so similar to last year’s production of David Williamson’s Let the Sunshine that I had to check that I hadn’t been duped into another night with our national treasure. The characters weren’t too different either, but the relief of Joanna Murray-Smith’s fresh wit took away the fear.
Sadie and Ed are at a very expensive resort for their 25th anniversary gesture. Naturally, there are jokes about firing their personal butler and when will hotels learn that people don’t like paying $9 for a box of mini-bar of Pringles. I find it so much easier to stay in cockroach-infested hostels just to avoid this kind of stress. Anyway, they meet Chloe and Martin, a hip young artists couple who won their getaway in a competition. Away from home, sculling posh wine and mojitos (really?) and clearly attracted to each other…
No, swinging isn’t middle class enough for them. They talk about the value of art (it’s good) and take a boat trip. And yes there’s a literal storm to strengthen the metaphorical one. Actually the program blurb tells you everything that happens in Act 1 (why?), so Act 2 is about firing all those foreshadowed empty wombs from Act 1.
There’s quite a moral dilemma presented, but not explored. In Act 1, the rich couple talk about watching other people and making up stories. The Gift feels like watching without being involved. The observation is astute – we recognise these people – but don’t know them enough to care what choices they make or feel any relevance to our lives (apart from the Pringles).
Richard Piper, Heather Bolton, Matt Dytynski and Elizabeth Debicki are all terrific performers and Murray-Smith’s gorgeous wit shines, but I don’t care what happens to these people. So if you see an update on White Whine saying “My free theatre ticket didn’t make me care as much as Masterchef does”, you’ll know who posted it.
Until 9 July, 2011