By Erica Brennan
Sidekicks is a very funny new Australian funny play by Stephen Vagg executed with finesse by Emily Rose Brennan and Dan Illic. The opening moments has the audience addressed directly with a very romantic marriage proposal by CB (Illic). She is pretending to be Hunter (Male Romantic Lead) explaining why Robin (Female Romanic Lead) can’t possibly fly off to marry that jerk when he –Hunter- is still in love with her. Enter Mac, our self proclaimed sidekick, who quickly puts a damper on CB’s grand gesture by explaining that as they are both sidekicks according to predetermined rules of being a sidekick they cant interfere in their romantic leads lives- at least in THAT way. Mac is Hunter’s side kick, CB is Robins. CB refuses to accept this and we are then taken back to the beginning of the story. What followed was a delightful and heartfelt hour of excellent theatrical work all round.
Sidekicks is a bare-bones theatre production. The only set pieces are a bench and a few whit screens for our performers to disappear behind while ‘time is passing’ or they are throwing on another characters wig. Each persona is played to its hilarious edge while still showing real moments of human vulnerability. Now bare bones it may have been but the performance wants for nothing with performers like… caring the audience along for the ride while clearly enjoying themselves. There genuine expression of the clownish pathtic had you falling in love with both of them again and again even when they behaved badly.
The script is easy to listen to but very intelligent and obviously well informed in all the factors that create a good romcom. Not just because Sidekicks’ story IS an excellent rom com story but it is intelligent and lithe enough to talk about itself as a rom com. It is both self referential and plays with the ‘fourth wall’ which I found surprising and quite charming. This is a fantastic achievement for the writer Stephen Vagg who is able to guide us through delicate emotional storytelling to hilarious slapstick awkwardness and back again without batting an eye. The sassy audience addresses, simple and effective directing and a cheeky sex scene, give this piece a wonderfully rounded feel. If you are a fan of romcoms, sitcoms or just coms in general go see this play!
I took my housemate who is an absolute sitcom fanatic. She is something of a connoisseur I would say. Now she thought it was one of the best pieces of theatre she had seen in a long time and was positively beaming as we crowed into the tiny lift to exit the 505 theatre. Can’t get a better recommendation than that. Get to it!
Sidekick Is showing at the Old 505. Click here for tickets and venue information.