If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You 

AAR-MF22-If-We-Got-Some-More-Cocaine-I-Could-Show-You-How-I-Love-You-Grant-Young-Lachlan-BlairIf We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You is a roof-top tale of youth, love and limitation that explores familiar themes in a refreshingly off-the-beaten-pathway.

John O’Donovan’s earthy script is propelled by the constant threat of discovery and violence. Its characters are trapped between their past – in both an immediate and formative sense – and whatever they decide to make of what comes next.

There is a lot going on in this piece and it presents a formidable challenge to the actors on several fronts. Grant Young (Casey) and Lachlan Blair (Mikey) do well to keep the action moving throughout the 75 minutes while picking up the details of their relationship as they appear in the dialogue and weaving them into the fabric of the relationship between their characters.

Blair in particular finds a strong grounding for Mikey, a wounded, lovable and violent delinquent who will charm you into submission before taking your wallet. Mikey is a complex man to understand but Blair sketches out his vulnerabilities and contradictions in a touching and believable performance laced with bluster, confidence and frustration.

Casey is an equally complex and conflicted character and the beginnings of an instant rapport with the audience are there, but Young’s exploration of Casey’s inner life is not as thorough as it could be. It is a text thick with implications and a deeper dig into that rich soil would bring up some dazzling gems. The dialogue was at times shaky and the drive and resonance behind some of Casey’s words and actions was not fully present.

In spite of this, Young conveys the teenage vulnerability and powerlessness in Casey and crafts some lovely moments with Blair where we see the shelter and agency the two characters find in one another. This dynamic will surely only grow stronger through the season.

Casey Harper-Woods’ set design provides a dangerously three-dimensional playground for the actors and ensures they are never on a solid footing. The standalone structure was an excellent choice for this piece giving us a slanting suburban island on which to maroon the young lovers. Spencer Herd’s lighting compliments the immediate environment, hinting beautifully at the unseen surroundings referred to throughout.

Having created this wonderful space imbued with danger and the risk of discovery, the amount of movement was slightly puzzling and the fear of exposure seemed at times only to appear when the text called for it.

That disconnection from the immediate threat to the characters – vital to the tension in the text – rendered some of Director Christian Cavallo’s technical choices around the portrayal of urination and drug use more distracting than they might otherwise have been.

Overall, the Victorian premiere of this piece is well worth a trip to the Meat Market Stables for the kind of story we don’t normally see.

If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You
Meat Market – Stables, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Season continues to 15 October 2022
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: Grant Young and Lachlan Blair in If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You (supplied)

Review: Daniel Townsend