‘This is NOT a Love Song’

‘This is NOT a Love Song’ is poignant drama, with a great deal of very funny humour thrown in. It has a similar style to that iconic film, ‘Across the Universe’, blending appropriate songs of the era – sung by the cast – with the dialogue.

This 70-minute play, by world famous Australian comedian, Greg Fleet, can be seen at the Blue Room Studio Theatre, James Street, Northbridge, each evening until the 6th September. The show begins at 8.30 pm.

The scene is a typical student bedsit in the early 80s. In the one room, there is a convertible bed / settee, a kitchen table and chairs, and of course the record player. In the corner is a bar, strangely housing a keyboard player (Michael de Grussa, newly returned from performing on several continents).

The kitchen furniture is painted onto the orange walls. Set designer Christian Barratt has used a great deal of symbolism, as he depicts and emphasises the ‘fluid’ mentality of the tenants. Smoothly stage managed by Rhianne Perrie.

       A middle-aged man, Jimmy Harrison (Greg Fleet) wanders around the student flat. He tells us how he lived there decades ago, and how in his mind he has visited the place many times since. He smiles as he watches himself thirty years earlier as a young, pot smoking art student (Shane Adamczak).

      The front door opens and a young girl, Sophie (Tegan Mulvany) enters. She is Jimmy’s date. The girl looks around at the semi-squalor, the LP record collection and Jimmy’s amazing artwork on the walls. Soon a relationship develops and Sophie moves in, with her even more incredible LP collection – the bonding is immediate. The older Jimmy slips the musician in the corner a few dollars and he starts to play a Daryl Braithwaite song. Love is complete.

       The older Jimmy reminisces, soaking up the warmth of that long lost happiness. Then seconds later, as he watches the couple, finds himself desperately trying to change history. The things that were said and done and brought his life crashing down. Life in retrospect is so much clearer and easier to control. Then Jimmy asks, ‘Is life really clearer now?’ or is has he simply blotted out episodes or tidied up situations without even knowing?

        What has happened since those student days? What happened to Sophie?

Most of us will have had similar experiences to this story. Recalling the happiest days of our lives, whilst cursing the stupid things we said at the time, changing our future forever. The partner that you loved so much, may look so different in the rear-view mirror.

The structure of the ingenious writing is superb, with some passages that will have you roaring with laughter and then mopping away the tears. Greg’s writing and Tegan’s direction work perfectly together. The symbiotic result gives a very vivid picture of our student days. The acting has Greg as an older, wiser man, quietly and logically looking at his youth, whilst the young couple live out their loves, frustrations and joys, with highly emotional performances. Some powerful acting, dramaturge by Kate Mulvany.

I went to the theatre expecting a light comedy but got so much more. Superb acting, great story and a memorable night out. Try to catch this fresh look at young love and its complexities.