The first of the Old 505 Theatre’s Freshworks line-up, This Genuine Moment (or how I learnt to stop loving myself and lie)  is about a man whose life is a success in its absolute and complete shittiness. His father is a deadbeat, he is gay and he feels compelled to lie – his most egregious sin, however is that the lies are insignificant morsels he feeds people to appear cool.

Billed as a new queer play that preempts the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, This Genuine Moment’s Jackson Blair-West and Tom Hughes turned in fine performances in their near post-coital state and beguiled with an awkward charm. Lewis’ (Jackson Blair-West) constant game-playing  was revealed and we realise that his character’s veracity is compromised due to his own insecurity. Still, the two are both sweet and acerbic in the right doses, a clownish beginning leading to the characters eventually exposing their vulnerabilities. 

Unfortunately, while watching two people in bed for over an hour has the potential to titillate, in this case unimaginative blocking kept the two men grounded, lying or sitting throughout, which had an enervating effect. A dull inertia settled over the proceedings about halfway through, much like the smoke that has been choking Sydney on and off for the last month. Smoke comes and goes but inertia has no place on a stage, the dramatic stakes won’t take hold in this gloom.     

Writing by Jacob Parker was amusing and clever, yet there was nothing new here. Preaching self acceptance as a central theme is old hat – there was very little that challenged in this message. Combined with insufficient energy levels, the play as it stands needs much more vitality to extend its shelf life.   

On at the Old 505 Theatre until 19 January, for more information and tickets see: https://old505theatre.com/shows/this-genuine-moment-1575951881.html

Director: Hayden Tonazzi

Featuring: Jackson Blair-West and Tom Hughes. 

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ArtsLab is Shopfront’s annual emerging artist program which provides 6-month residency space, an industry mentor and season to showcase new works. In 2019 we supported 6 emerging artists to create 5 new works. The season includes 3 theatre works, an installation and a video artwork.