by Melynda von Wayward
Reviewed on Wed, 09/04/2014 - 09:56am
Melynda von Wayward Total Reviews: 36
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Theatre Review by Leonard Miller

What: Idaho
Where: Loop Bar, Meyers Place
When: 6th April
Produced by Metamorphis Theatre Company
Written and Directed by Kevin McGreal
Performed by Jessi Lewis

My Own Private Idaho was a ground breaking film in 1991 by director Gus Van Sant. Focusing on the lives of two hustlers, it lead the way in the emerging genre of indie films and helped makes stars of the two male leads, River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. The brooding and slightly menacing sense of ennui and rebellion captured in the film made it iconic with the disaffected youth at the time of its release.

Idaho is no retelling of the film however. It seeks to discuss the relationship between pop culture and the intimate cerebral interactions people make with cinema and cinema idols. Coupled with his controversial portrayal of a gay hustler in the movie, the untimely demise of Pheonix made him a hero to many young people, at the time seeking an idol to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with their baby boomer parents and ideals.

A one man play, Jessi Lewis embodies this early nineties angst beautifully. His hair, his attitude and his dance moves are more than reminiscent of the era, they capture the decadence of a time when George Michael could easily maintain his claim on heterosexuality while presenting himself as a homo-erotic icon.

McGrealâ??s work has always been difficult and he makes his audience work hard. Sometimes hard to access and often containing difficult aesthetics, there are definite comparisons that can be made between Metamorphis and The Rabble. Both are theatre companies that play with where to draw the line between abuse and entertainment.

The show itself is a pastiche of clips from the movie, the soundtrack, early nineties dance moves and an internal monologue delivered with a sneering and engaging nonchalance by the talented Lewis.

A work in progress, Idaho, promises much and with some time and stronger direction could easily become a piece of theatre that will resonate just as strongly with those who loved the film.

3.5 Stars
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Publisher: Leonard Miller
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