Recently I had a little midweek adventure, headed out of the city up the Freeway to join my best pal in the small(ish) town up on the coast that she works in. Yes that’s right folks, I had an evening out in Cessnock.
Several months ago my friend Gen invited to me an evening of fun up in Cessnock but refused to actually tell me what we were doing. I love a good mystery so I did try to work it out but came up with nothing. Finally a couple of days before the event itself I got it out of her. We were going to see a play called “Often I find that I am Naked” at the Cessnock Performing Arts Centre. (You thought somehow I was going to be naked in this tale didn’t you, you naughty thing). Well I do love a bit of adventure and midweek is all the more fun. Gen and I also share a love not only of performance but also of the quirky and the saucy so I had full confidence I would enjoy myself.
I arrived in plenty of time and we headed off to the nearby pub to have dinner. The staff were very friendly, the prices extremely reasonable and the food was just delicious. I had Salt and Pepper Squid with a fantastic passionfruit sauce. I’d definitely eat there again. You know, the next time I am in Cessnock.
So we headed off to the “PAC”(Performing Arts Centre) as the locals call it. Actually it’s a lovely theatre. It’s been redone and they’ve done an excellent job with it. They are rightly proud of it. From one direction is the older (but lovely facade) from the other is the new look. The ticket area is still slightly older but very nice. They put on a cheese platter and I sipped champagne. There was even a musical accompaniment – the lovely son of someone connected to the theatre kept us entertained until show time.
A quick trip to the loo (bathrooms are a key checkpoint for me and I have to comment that these were spacious and clean. Top points there) and we went in to get our seats. Happily we were right up front so we got a great view of all the action.
Now a word of warning. This play is not for the easily shocked or offended. It’s saucy. Very saucy. Which, you know, is just fun but you have to pick your audience.
The set was simple but effective and I absolutely had to admire Jo Thomas, who played the hapless but sassy Jezebel with such unflagging energy. She was on stage the entire show and at no point did she flag. She brought Jezebel to life with a flourish and a cheeky waggle of her bum.
The “Men” were played by Sam Clark. An interesting task for him, to create several male characters (and a dog) without a proper change of costume. He definitely rose to the challenge. He was a rouge, a slime, self centred and sweet as was required. Though I think he enjoyed playing the dog most of all 😉
This review would not be complete without a mention of the “musician” played by James Dobinson who really was a third character and kept his role, well rolling along brilliantly. I watched him a few times when all eyes were on Jezebel and he kept his character reacting to everything the whole time. The duet between the boys was a definite highlight.
Which leads me to the music. Talk about a parade of songs from my youth. 80’s music, you have to love it. No question its the music people dance to no matter what is popular at any given time. For me it really added to the tone of the play and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
So who is Jezebel? Is she every girl who has found herself single longer than she wanted? Or can every single woman see shades of herself in Jezebel? Will she take the plunge and notice the man who has been her friend all this time? Does everyone have that option?
For me the show was like Sex and the City in 70 minutes. There are parts that every woman can relate to (like that tongue thing, do mean really think we like it when they waggle their tongues at us?) and parts that we have seen in others – Jezebel’s increasingly desperate path fueled by cocktails and loneliness (and fabulously demonstrated by her increasingly dishevled hair), eventually leading to the revelation that a morning without a hangover “is quite nice actually.”
The play is also a list of Lies Men Tell and while it certainly examines that, it certainly is in no way man bashing or saying there are no good men. Really it is asking the question – does Sex equal Love? and I think we all know the answer to that.
Bottom line (pun intended) I really enjoyed it – a search for true love told in cute Polka Dot lingerie with swagger and a tiny pink Ukulele.