7-31 August (ex.11, 18, 25) 17.00
Two writers stretch towards each other across the ether. In the 21st Century, Bret’s romance-radar is blocked. A writer of pornographic plays, he is unable to evoke true love, floundering instead in an embarrassment of felching, fellatio and tumescent phalluses.
Drawing inspiration from the works of Jane Austen, he embarks on an internal monologue with the great lady, who it turns out – in the way of fiction – is having issues with her own artistic ‘growth’.
Bluntly put, Jane’s mojo is just plain flaccid.
Jane Austen’s Guide to Pornography is all good fun, especially when its not taking itself seriously, for in the incongruity lies its greatest charm. To whit: “Slam my bloomers with your blue-veined custard pumper!” It gets harder to ignore the doubtful elements when Jane jumps out of the rabbit hole and becomes a fully-fledged historical figure with worries of her own (i.e. Addison’s disease!). The tender tone of the later scenes doesn’t quite work, and it all gets a bit weird when Dawson strays into the paradoxes of time-travel.
Bizarrely, these problems are spotlit by a great performance in Nathan Butler’s uncannily authentic portrayal of Jane. He talks like Jane Austen, he moves like Jane Austen, he even gesticulates like Jane Austen. Not that this will mean much to our antipodean cousins but, “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be…” (seriously, the man would win).
Persuasion this certainly isn’t, but despite Steven Dawson’s light-hearted, irreverent romp riding rough-shod over any notion of turn-of-the-century propriety, this tart had a heart, dealing with surprisingly universal themes such as love, loneliness and creative insecurity.