The second of four works comprising this month’s Subiaco Theatre Festival, I (Honestly) Love You is better than stand-up. Perth playwright, actor, director and producer extraordinaire Damon Lockwood has created a hilarious, laugh-out-loud work of the highest calibre. With self-referencing, electric writing that busts through the fourth wall with relish, I can only sing the play’s praises and declare its comic genius.
When Lloyd (Nick Pages-Oliver) and Belle (George Gayler) meet in a coffee shop, they are astounded to discover they are both afflicted by vitiositas veritas – a disease that only allows them to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As they navigate the trials and tribulations of early dating, their relationship seems all the better for their honesty – however much it awkwardly stings. However, when they’re finally head over heels, their disease evolves into a new mutation with dangerous consequences. Like certain establishments in Northbridge, you can expect a happy ending.
Performed in various incarnations around Australia and the world since its premiere in the 2012 Blue Room season, this time Nick Pages-Oliver embodies Lloyd in place of Jimmy James Eaton. Having thoroughly enjoyed his supporting role in Fish in the Sea at FRINGE WORLD 2016, this skinny man’s nervy, skittish acting is endearing, and Gayler is wide-eyed and earnest as she happily pulls no punches.
Talei Howell-Price and Lockwood himself make up the supporting cast as they fill in the roles of mates and parents, all experiencing the brunt of the lovers’ honesty. Performed before a giant backdrop of a calendar, the set design is quite elaborate but perfectly tailored to the laughs.
Short and sharp, this is 60 digestible minutes of highly accessible theatre for the everyman. If you’re not across this festival to-date, get down to the Subiaco Arts Centre because the curated line-up fills me with hope for independent theatre and excitement for the productions to come. 2/4 have been straight fire.
Words by Samuel J. Cox
‘I (Honestly) Love You’ ran for 4 nights at the Subiaco Arts Centre as part of the Subiaco Theatre Festival.