Dubious Intent

MFF23 Dubious IntentWhy do some friendships end? How do you know when a friendship is worth continuing or needs cutting off?

This is a question at the heart of Mike (Brody McCarthy) and Jessie’s (Ned Mathers) Dubious Intent. The two know each other through their shared dreams to become writers of the calibre of Kerouac, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

Having shared that dream myself, I can understand how that shared vision of what’s possible can unite people in friendship. But as you ‘plaster your wall with rejection slips’ and the dream’s whitewash fades, then all you’re left with are differences.

Mike idolises Jessie. In him, he sees the fantasy lifelong literary friendship of the Beat Generation of writers.

But the principle of homeostasis applies to friendships as much as it does to biology. When you place someone on a pedestal, you’ll receive feedback to bring you back to a balanced perception of them. Likewise, if you’ve placed them in a pit, you’ll begin to see the ways you demonstrate those same traits.

Brody and Ned are a great pairing. They bring a believability to their performance as if they’ve been friends for a few years. An era for people so young.

Brody brings the pathos to the piece as Mike watches his dreams crumble before his eyes. And Ned plays Jessie in a way that will have you considering whether he’s making the right decision in bringing the friendship to its end.

Writer and director Callum O’Mara faces a hard challenge. Most friendships don’t end in a clear cut way. When they end, they most often peter out. But to give the play its direction, the final stages of Mike and Jessie’s friendship must take place in one hour or less   .

Regardless of your age, you’ll walk away considering whether your friendships are serving you. What do you really have in common with your friends?

If the answer to that question is less than you think, then perhaps you may start thinking about how to bring the friendship to an end.

Dubious Intent
Club Voltaire, 14 Raglan Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 19 October 2023
Season continues to 22 October 2023
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: Brody McCarthy and Ned Mathers feature in Dubious Intent (supplied)

Review: Daniel G. Taylor