27 March 2010

Review: Donna and Damo

Donna and Damo
Full Tilt
25 March 2010
Blackbox, the Arts Centre

I adore Donna and Damo so much that it’s hard to write anything that doesn’t make me sound like a potential stalker.

Sarah Collins and Justin Kennedy’s utter gem first appeared at the 2009 Melbourne Fringe (I used words like irresistible and exquisite) and it didn’t take long for it to sell out (in the good way). The Arts Centre Full Tilt programmers knew that many more people deserve to see this adorable show, so put it in their Comedy Festival line up in the Black Box.

Neither Donna nor Damo quite fit into their world. Donna thinks she’s found happiness with Trevor, a film blogging critique who declares Zoolander his favourite film, rather than something really deep like The Butterfly Effect; Damo tries to fix people with no obligation spell checks and he isn’t looking for a girlfriend, boyfriend or icky lover to make his world right.

Their story is beautiful, but stories without heart are just words. Even the broadest comedy needs to grab our hearts and make us care. Donna and Damo is jaw-aching funny, but we’re never laughing at these misfit lovers. We see our own imperfections in them and long for them to find love and happiness, as much as we long for the same ourselves.

Director Jason Lehane ensures the balance of poignancy, comedy and gut-felt emotion, so that even the quirks of horrible boyfriend Trevor tweak enough self-recognition to make him as real as our best, or worst, friend.

The new season brings new characters and jokes and the bigger venue allows for a so-needed disco ball and for Damien Scott BPA’s live animation to almost steal the show. Scott’s work is the Avatar of live theatre (except there’s a story and characters who you believe and care about).

Knowing the story doesn’t harm a second viewing, and allows the chance to indulge in the Matt Dillon jokes, remember the grammar tips and covet the Johnny Depp blanky. (Also new is Justin appearing clad only in a red cowboy hat and very special blanket.)

Donna and Damo is the kind of theatre that I love and I dare any other Comedy Festival show to be this good.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

2009 review of  Donna and Damo.

  Damian Scott BPA