Review | Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked

Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked | The Ice Cream Factory | Until 3 Feb| ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Heading into the city for a performance of Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked my companion and I pondered the title of the piece and wondered what the night held for us. A romantic comedy? Perhaps the animals of the title were figurative?

We came into the performance blind, having done no research, and with no expectations, just a burning curiosity. We used public transport to venture into the city and the venue was a short walk from Perth station, but also close to parking garages.

It was a very warm night in Perth and the city itself strangely quiet on the public holiday Monday evening. Having peeped into the venue – Deluxe at The Ice Cream Factory – I had seen it was a very intimate setting, with only a few tiers of benches encircling most of the structure with a small stage space at the front.

We were first in line to enter and watched the venue quickly fill to capacity, with actor Darcy Whitsed playing the character of ‘Bobby’ to a packed house. We were blessed with air conditioning, with Whitsed adjusting his volume to accommodate it.

For me, the only production negative I found was out of the control of the artist. Given the close proximity of the Deluxe structure to other Fringe venues there were amplified performances running simultaneously that proved slightly distracting, especially when The Killers Mr Brightside wafted in. Whitsed was still able to make himself heard but it detracted slightly from the intimate, confessional like atmosphere he had skilfully built.

No, the animals of the title aren’t figurative but it’s simplistic to think this play is an homage to bestiality. Rather it’s a nuanced exploration of boundaries and perceptions, introspection and reflection. In a series of monologues with extremely short breaks between, that span an hour in total Darcy Whitsed held us captive on a weird and uncomfortable journey as we struggled with empathy and recognition.

Bobby’s social awkwardness and disconnection from other relationships in his life made his proclivities seem almost understandable. Almost. Certainly my own reaction to him was more complex than one of pure judgement or condemnation.

Overall I have no hesitation in awarding this production a strong four stars. If I had researched this piece before attending tonight I would have known that it has toured other festivals to great acclaim.

This doesn’t surprise me at all! Awkward Conversations With Animals I’ve F*cked is a thought provoking piece of theatre, masterfully performed by a consummate actor. The storytelling was subtle and provocative both, and I would recommend the experience to anyone who likes to have their thinking challenged.

See Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked until 3rd of February.

Kate Salinger is an active member of PFLAG Perth and budding social activist. When she was very young she attended the Australian Theatre for Young People on a scholarship. In a parallel universe where she didn’t become a teen mother she would have pursued her aspirations of being a working actor. Kate enjoys photography and writes somewhat irregularly at What Kate Did Next She also has a Facebook page for her blog and other passions.

Star Rating Guide