A little bit of pain never hurt anyone

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Brought to you by the Melbourne-based theatre company Periscope Productions, A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone is an engaging two-person performance that holds a mirror up to Australia and urges it to look at the way the roles of men and women are dictated by our “stiff upper lip” culture.

Written by playwright Brendan McDougall, A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone begins when a boy and a girl meet in a sandpit and beautifully reveal all the things you’re supposed to be, supposed to know, and supposed to do as a person growing up in Australian society. Their conversation becomes like a game of tennis, back and forth, as each one relays what they’ve been instructed to believe (“well my mum said little boys always turn into their daddies eventually” and “well my dad said little girls are hard to keep happy”). As gender roles are examined from the perspective of children, the result is equally funny and melancholic.

As childhood turns to adulthood, their issues grow deeper with time, and themes of parental blame, mental health, compromise and fear come into play. A touchingly serene scene between the male character and his emotionally closed-off “Aussie bloke” father was a highlight of the play. Though the content is hard-hitting and emotionally charged, the comedy is frivolous, witty and refreshingly modern – anyone who has ever felt pressured to be a certain way in life will, without a doubt, laugh, scoff and sigh with understanding and empathy throughout the entire play.

The performers showcase their range of artistic talents, with puppetry, singing, and even a little bit of precarious balancing upon the makeshift sandpit. With a stripped back set and minimal props, the play encourages the audience to use their imaginations along with the characters, adding to the whimsicality and childhood nostalgia of the performance.

This is the first time Periscope Productions have toured their original work, and it did not disappoint. A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone is running at The Butterfly Club until Sunday. Be sure not to miss it.

A little bit of pain never hurt anyone 
The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne
Till Sunday, 11 February 2018

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