The funny and creative team behind The Cutting Room Floor’s play What’s Love Got To Do With It ask that same question Tina Turner did in ’84. The difference, you ask? Well, it’s 2016. Any fears I had about overly sentimental representations of love were dispelled by this intelligent and emotionally engaging production.
Set in the boardroom of a big pharmaceutical company on the brink of releasing a cure for love, five unnamed board members tackle the project. Led by a fierce CEO played by Phoebe Sullivan, it is soon revealed that those seeking to cure love sure aren’t loveless. Despite her ferocity and determination, their leader can’t help but reach out to their young and afraid test subject (played by Jacinta Larcombe), and of course this workplace isn’t free of secret extramarital affairs.
This well-paced and balanced performance will make you laugh, but it also has something important to offer as far as love is concerned, as well as the ethics of drug development. A satirical take on those Brand Power commercials and a deconstruction of the modern breakup process had the audience in stitches. Of particular note is producer and performer Zoe Hollyoak, who portrays with extreme conviction both Board Member One and the polite and meagre, yet concerned, mother of the test subject— a testament to her range. Indeed, the depth and physicality of the cast made for an engaging show, which is no doubt credit to Rachel Woodward’s careful and considered direction of the fast-driven work.
Upon the show’s conclusion, it seemed clear that love is entangled and pervasive even in 2016; the era of unsurpassed scientific development and ubiquitous shallow advertising. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that love still has everything to do with being human.
This work was originally devised by most of the performers and Woodward as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s Tilt 2015 program, which showcased the work of third year graduating WAAPA students. Kudos to The Blue Room for their continued commitment to fostering emerging talent, as is on show in this relevant and intelligent production.
Words by Isaak Karagoglou
What’s Love Got To Do With It? runs at The Blue Room Theatre until 25 June as part of the the City of Perth Winter Arts Festival. Tickets available here.