A Mutation Theatre Production
Written and directed by Patrick McCarthy
Co-devised & performed by James Tresise & Matthew Epps
There are several similarities between Habitat, which I saw last Wednesday, and MEN (reviewed below) which I saw the night prior. Both concern themselves with contemporary expressions of masculinity, and both are (or in the case of MEN, were) works by young playwrights. But whereas MEN was Brendan Cowell's first play, Habitat is the third play by writer/director Patrick McCarthy, whose two previous works were one man plays - Fluorescent Facade and The Corpse of Hamlet - which he himself performed.
A gentle, introspective exploration of what it means to be a young man in the 21st century, Habitat avoids emotional pyrotechnics in favour of subdued humour and wry realism. Set in the loungeroom of an inner city share house, the play is a character study of two friends, James (James Tresise) and Matthew (Matthew Epps), who identity as members of Generation Y.
While little of any real dramatic note happens over the play's slightly self-indulgent one hour and fifteen minute running time, the charm in this raw yet engaging production lies in the way we get to know its characters - and they get to know themselves - as it unfolds. Moments of true emotion - such as the pair's awkwardness when one of the boys confesses that he was lonely when the other went away for the weekend; or the flatly but compelling told story of a tragic death - alternate with scenes of simple, unfettered glee as the boys dance around the set, and moments when they suddenly halt the drama to ask audience members how we're going.
Habitat is not without its faults - it has a tendency to meander, and I'd love to see the results wrought by a good dramatuge in terms of tightening the script and subtly intensifying the drama - but I liked it all the same, and look forward to seeing playwright Patrick McCarthy further developing his craft in the years to come.
Until March 20
Upstairs at Cafe Coco
129 Smith Street Fitzroy
Bookings: email@example.com or 0410 304 226