REVIEW: Break Up (We Need To Talk) (Binge Culture and Auckland Fringe)

Come back here [by Matt Baker]

Walking out of the theatre is the strongest statement an audience member can make, and I have never regretted it until I walked out of Break Up. To clarify, the six-hour show allows its audience to come and go as they please, and it was only due to personal commitments that I left after the first hour and a half, before returning for the conclusive 40 minutes.

Performers Ralph Upton, Gareth Hobbs, Joel Baxendale, Claire O’Loughlin, and Fiona MacNamara deserve nothing less than absolute respect for not only their theatrical endurance, but also their commitment to presenting their audience with a truthful and unabashed journey. The two characters are performed rotationally, with one performer in the hot seat, responding line by line to the four-manned other half in the relationship (it makes sense when you see it). This in itself may seem problematic, but the synchronicity of the cast and their ability to drive and clarify the beats throughout the improvisation is a testament to the talent of this company. Live tweeting is encouraged, and justified, as the non-scripted dialogue is packed with comedic gems and heart-breaking moments. Add to this the tagging in and out of the hot seat character, and one can only conclude that this show is an example of story-tellers in their prime and zone.

Six hours is a significant amount of time for an audience to invest in, but the two hours plus I spent witnessing this performance felt all too brief. The total audience of thirty or so swelled and shrank as expected throughout the event, and although the comparatively low for seating capacity numbers allowed for a certain amount of ironic intimacy, Break Up deserved nothing less than a full house. If Wellington-based Binge Culture ever decides to bring the show back to Auckland, there is simply no reason not to attend.

SEE ALSO: Theatreview review by Dione Joseph

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