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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa. Sam Brooks reviews Hook-Up Boysa new collection of vignettes at The Basement that lacks in diversity and variety in its form just as much as in its content. There are so many ideological hooks to hang a criticism on, especially in the hyper-sensitive world offar before you come to criticising the actual craft.
It would be easy to criticise a show like Hook-Up Boys for not representing my truth.
Even though it is billed as one show, Hook-Up Boys is actually six unconnected minute pieces of short theatre, and it falls into many of the traps of the form. Short theatre is hard to do. Too often it can feel like a workshop for an undeveloped piece, or a stepping stone to something longer. At its worst it can feel like something that should have been allowed to breathe for an hour but is forced to hyperventilate for ten minutes instead, and even worse it can feel like a logline stretched out to meet a time limit. In these pieces, each conversation point and beat is stretched far beyond plausibility, with back-and-forth dialogue and references filling in for character development and plot.
The thin concepts labour under the weight of having to fill a certain amount of time, and the effect is numbing.
Hook-Up Boys lacks variety, on almost every level. The structure within the scenes also lacks variety. As a result, the characters feel even slighter, like pieces on a chessboard. Even more crucially, the show lacks a variety in stakes. The characters in all six pieces have little to lose, and not enough is at risk for us to buy into their dilemmas.
Nobody is going to die, nobody is going to change, and everything is going to be just fine. Their characters are largely written to fill the concept of each vignette rather than feeling like full-bodied humans with a life outside of their allotted ten minutes.
Hook-Up Boys is, perhaps intentionally, a study of a very specific kind of a gay man, a gay man whose primary issue is who he wants to sleep with. Any issue of race, class, privilege or any of the stakes inherent with those things are not addressed or acknowledged, and even the issue of sexual fluidity is more brushed against than really wrestled with. Performance By Sam Brooks Read Time: 11 mins.
Sam Brooks reviews Hook-Up Boys, a new collection of vignettes at The Basement that lacks in diversity and variety in its form just as much as in its content. Aa Aa.Hook up tickets reviews
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