Directed by Leo Gene Peters for Long Cloud Youth Theatre Summer School.
Downstage Theatre, until February 16.
Reviewed by: Laurie Atkinson.
Watching Perfectly Wasted is like being asked to a party and then finding yourself barred from entering. You can see and hear most of what's going on but not all and you are no more involved than you are when walking hurriedly through Courtenay Place on a rowdy Saturday night.
A mass of young people dancing, singing, fighting, binge- drinking, playing spin the bottle, vomiting in a toilet, cautiously or nervously experimenting with drugs, sex, and alcohol may reflect what is actually going on just outside the theatre but it doesn't tell us anything more.
Perfectly Wasted is a pale, sanitised kaleidoscopic reflection of the party that is Courtenay Place, not art. Surely we need some sort of view or attitude expressed about all this hedonistic activity. Apart from the punning title of the show there is none.
At almost two hours, including an interval, that's a long time to be without a plot or some sympathetic characters or some sort of structure to hold it all together.
Who are all these people? As at many a party, we never get to know any of them because the focus keeps constantly shifting from a crowd to a group to an occasional individual - a young man serenading at 4am his girlfriend who has dumped him - and then back to the crowd again.
At one point I counted six small groups dotted about the levels of the set, and even though a roving microphone eavesdropped on them, it was impossible to hear or even see two or three of them from where I was seated.
However, there was one bright moment when an actor read a brief but illuminating speech that was presumably from a transcript of an interview held by a cast member in his or her research.
The interviewee should be quickly found and asked for more of his acute observations on the social activities of young Kiwis. For a couple of minutes Perfectly Wasted connected with its audience.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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