The world preem of the first Australian-commissioned work from Oz-born, London-based Lloyd Newson's DV8 Physical Theater fuses dance, dialogue and music to take a look at contemporary culture and modern living. Resulting show, somewhat cumbersomely titled "Can We Afford This: The Cost of Living," is alternately amusing and thought-provoking but occasionally on the didactic side.

The world preem of the first Australian-commissioned work from Oz-born, London-based Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theater fuses dance, dialogue and music to take a look at contemporary culture and modern living. Resulting show, somewhat cumbersomely titled “Can We Afford This: The Cost of Living,” is alternately amusing and thought-provoking but occasionally on the didactic side.

Through a variety of scenes, dances, circus-inspired capers and soliloquies on subjects ranging from work to body image to emotions, the performers (half Aussies) canvass the importance of class, sexuality and education in shaping our lives. Show unfolds on a vivid and brilliantly lit green set, and features an eclectic music score (Cher included).

Major weakness is “Head On” thesp and comedian Paul Capsis’ monologues, which, while sometimes funny mood breakers, often interrupt show’s pace and rhythm. Provocative piece’s strength lies in its unforgettable imagery and bold mixing of comedy with more serious points. The downbeat ending makes all that went before seem like an anthem for a doomed generation.

Can We Afford This: The Cost of Living

Seymour Center's Everest Theater; 434 seats; A$83 ($49) top

Production

A Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and the Royal Festival Hall (London) presentation of a performance in one act devised by DV8 Physical Theater.

Creative

Directed by Lloyd Newson. Design, Uri Omi, Liam Steel, Gabriela Tylesova; lighting, Jack Thompson; sound, Paul Charlier. Opened, reviewed Aug. 20, 2000. Running time: 1 HOUR, 25 MIN.

Cast

With: Yossi Berg, Paul Capsis, Kate Coyne, James Cunningham, Lawrence Goldhuber, Roz Hervey, Eddie Kay, Eric Languet, Jacob Lehrer, Kareena Oates, Diana Payne-Myers, Byron Perry, Robert Tannion, Francois Testory, Rowan Thorpe, David Toole, Vivien Wood.
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