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On the Production of Monsters

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June 6, 2012 1:00 amtoJune 7, 2012 1:00 am

The MTC’s latest, On the Production of Monsters, is a somewhat dark, complex work that’s pretending to be lighter than it really is. Ben and Shari (James Saunders and Virginia Gay), are a typical inner-city Melbourne couple who spend a lot of time talking about coffee and saving the Merri Creek. Until they become ensnared in a national child pornography scandal.

Melbourne playwright Robert Reid’s work is littered with rapid-fire dialogue and local references – the characters eat on Lygon Street, play bowls in Fitzroy North and drink Little Creatures. It’s nice to hear local idioms like a debate about what taxi lights really mean thrown in the midst.

Saunders and Gay play a variety of different characters along intersecting storylines as the net slowly closes around Ben and Shari. The stage, set in the middle of the audience, opens up between scenes to reveal new props including desks, bean bags and even treadmills, that gradually clutter the space like memories.

Reid’s subject matter deals with the issue of media exploitation and child pornography in a humourous yet biting way. Sometimes it works, other times it it falls flat – the gags referring to parents and friend’s children perhaps remain too taboo to get a chuckle.

Still, Saunders and Gay are more than well-equipped to handle the demanding roles and subject matter, and for a local work that’s pushing some buttons, I recommend it.

On the Production of Monsters is showing at MTC until June 9.
For more information and tickets visit mtc.com.au.


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