Tumbling After

★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2015

Watching this company-devised show is a depressing experience. Not because it's about two couples breaking up, but because it's a tissue of unexamined clichés with dance and movement as window-dressing.

Taking place on a set laid out like a floorplan, we watch Jill (Kate Goodfellow, also creator and producer of the show) and Peter (Robert Boulton) get pissed in a nightclub, have an awkward one-night-stand and move in together. Meanwhile, Jack (Steven Laverty) and Gretel (Marietta Melrose) do the same thing. And would you believe it? Jack and Jill live next to each other.

If the nursery rhyme names don't get you, the sitcom plotting will. The interjected speeches about grains of sand and tumbling into love land with a dull thud. Genuine emotion is squeezed, strained and filtered through countless TV shows until there's nothing left. It would be less irritating if it didn't take itself so deadly seriously.

On the upside, the choreography is nice and Vicki Baron's production has a well-paced, fluid motion. The set design is also clever, with upright beds providing a decent canvas for some amusing-enough physical comedy. But none of these elements feel truly integral to the piece's stab at examining relationships. They're just icing, missing a cake.

There's a lot of talent on display here, genuinely, but devising can be a merciless process and this show never does anything interesting with the stereotypes it presents as universal experiences. Put bluntly, no one feels real. And that's key.