Men Behaving Badly

Men Behaving Badly
By Simon Nye. Matt Byrne Media. Holden St Theatres, Adelaide. Oct 4-6 & Oct 10-14 & Oct 18-21, 2017.

Director Matt Byrne is well-known for bringing popular culture to the stage and he makes a big impact with his latest offering, adapting four episodes from the original BBC TV series Men Behaving Badly. It is easy to make comparisons, but Byrne and cast put their individual stamps on this politically incorrect story.

Buddies Tony and Gary, played by Brendan Cooney and Rohan Watts respectively, are a couple of loutish lads with a penchant for booze, women and slobbery. Dorothy, brought to life by Georgia Stockham, is Gary’s long-suffering partner. When most modern women would have sent him packing, she perseveres with his immature behaviour.

Writer Simon Nye wrote the series in the 1990s, when the new-age man of sensitivity was banging on the door. Nye manages to create characters who are the polar-opposite of maturity. Although the script is dated, there is no doubt that these bad-mannered men still live amongst us. Set in Britain, some references were lost on the audience the night I attended, but this did not stop the laughter.

Rohan Watts delivers a suitably oafish performance; he is loud and offensive, but channels it in such a way that you like his character regardless. Brendan Cooney’s characterisation is also spot on, releasing his inner child in the process.

Some lovely supportive roles are created, with a cross-section of stereotypical characters from the time. Clever use of a screen projecting social encounters with the lead characters offer up a distraction from set changes. The sequences mirror the before-mentioned TV show.

I am not familiar with the script, but it was clear that there were slathers of improvisation.  Some of it worked, but other attempts fell flat. I liken the production to a pantomime for adults, with audience interaction encouraged.

If you are after a night out that is devoid of any need for thought and is purely there for entertainment purposes, then this is a safe bet. Just keep in mind that this play is a sign of the times in which it originated and thankfully most of us have evolved.

Kerry Cooper

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