Review: Love Triangle: An evening of one-act plays (Minola Theatre and Corporation Theatre)

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Minola Theatre and Corporation Theatre presented Love Triangle: An evening of one-act plays for one performance only at the Ron Hurley Theatre on January 25, showcasing an ensemble of local talent across three pieces of theatre written in 1913, 2008, and 2019. Helmed by the directors of the two theatre companies, Love Triangle explored themes of love and fidelity and how these have – or have not – changed over the past century.

J.M. Barrie’s one-act play Half an Hour leads the audience through a dark farce, exploring a range of big themes – class, power, autonomy, fidelity – in a small timeframe. Directed by Kat Dekker, the play follows Lady Lilian as she attempts to escape from her decadent but loveless marriage and make a fresh start outside of the restrictive social and moral norms of the early 1900s. Hannah Little’s emotive performance as Lady Lilian was a highlight of the evening, Brendan James was easily despicable as her husband Mr Garson, and Steven James, Luke Diamond, and Rachel Layt were a capable supporting ensemble.

Siobhan Finniss took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster as she performed Astrid’s monologue from EIGHT by Ella Hickson, weaving from adoration and apathy to disbelief and downright disgust at her partner and the idea and reality of their shared life and love. Directed by Luke Rimmelzwaan and also featuring Ryan Goodwin, the performance considered love, desire, the motives behind infidelity, the emotional wear and tear of long-term monogamous relationships, and the difficult choice between excitement and certainty.

Synaesthesia, a new work written and performed by Bianca Butler Reynolds with directorial assistance from Kat Dekker, was full of beautifully crafted imagery and delivered with the careful timing, natural rhythm, and earnest emotion that first captivated me in Butler Reynolds’ performance of Highway of Lost Hearts, Minola Theatre’s first production, last year. Synaesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway – an example is those that can ‘taste words’ or ‘smell sounds’. Synaesthesia explores ideas about the entanglement of values and commitment, memory and the building blocks of self, and the tipping point in a relationship when we must choose to be the person we feel we have constructed ourselves to be, with and for our partner, or the person we really are.

Love Triangle was performed without interval, with the three scenes of Half An Hour interspersed between the two monologues, and all three pieces were beautifully linked by brief interactions and moments of physical touch between the three female leads, clasping hands and exchanging looks as the scene changed behind them. All three lead characters were visible to the side of the stage during the others’ performances, bearing witness along with the audience, and this contributed to the feeling of smooth transition and unity that strengthened the link between the pieces.

Love Triangle drew together three vastly different works about love, desire, and relationships with impressive cohesion and emotionally engaging performances from its cast.

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