REVIEW: Cool Behaviour (Auckland Fringe)

Review by Sharu Delilkan

[Cool As!]

It was with great trepidation that I walked down the stairs to Q’s Vault to watch Cool Behaviour.

Like many in the audience, I’m sure, the questions were whirring around in my mind.  Foremost of which was, “Am I cool enough to even be here?”

That ‘coolness’ is a state of being which a majority of the human race aspires towards, is no revelation. This is the premise of Cool Behaviour, cleverly highlighted and demonstrated.

But as what appears to be a flippant take on the word ‘cool’ unfolds on stage, we slowly but surely realise through numerous LOL moments that a bigger, more somber, serious message is being revealed.  However, it would be a total spoiler to say what that is – so I won’t. That would not be cool.

This tongue-in-cheek piece is very smartly written using two central characters, played by Ava Diakhaby (Flaps, ATC’s Boys) and Frith Horan (Mating in Captivity, Album Party).  As the Life Coaches of Cool, they are the instruments to convey and bookend various ‘cool’ messages and tips.  While the device is by no means groundbreaking, it’s the varied style – in which we’re treated to the dynamic duos’ presentation of the ‘cool’ facts – and the almost frantically paced performance that reel the audience in.  We eagerly await their answer on “the secret to becoming cool”.

Kudos to both the actors for being on the ball throughout. They are extremely watchable embodying their countless personas – which are endearing and varied – throughout this hour-long show.

The topics covered in Cool Behaviour are truly diverse and creatively presented.  The subject matter allows different vignettes to be knitted perfectly together, forming an almost cohesive storyline.

Besides the devilishly delicious drama being dished out on stage, it was super cool to see both actors work in unison, especially with the cleverly choreographed movement.  This visual element was a fabulous foil that complemented the social commentary.  In addition it was not only testament to the performers’ acting chops but also their singing, dancing and perfect comedic timing.

Although this show is highly recommended for millennial audiences, I believe anyone would enjoy its universal themes.

Cool Behaviour makes valid, insightful observations.  Auckland Fringe is the perfect vehicle to begin these conversations.  I personally would love to see a dramaturg help tease out and explore these various concepts further, with the  view to create an even more vital work.

Well worth a look in!

Cool Behaviour is presented by Theatre A/F and plays at Q until 24 February as part of Auckland Fringe. 

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