Review of INTERNATIONAL STUD at The Butterfly Club

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International Stud4

Directed by Meredith Fuller

Co Produced and starring Jacob Antolini as Arnold

Co-starring Adam Hetherington convincingly in his first professional role as Ed.

Music – including a stunning original composition – by the sultry Caitlin Berwick on power driven vocals and piano…

With Paddy Adeney brilliantly and effortlessly on saxophone, guitar and piano. Effortlessly juxtaposing and enhancing the play itself.

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Caitlin Berwick and Paddy Adeney

From the moment one enters The Butterfly Club from a rather dreary lane, one enters a timeless world that is like a fascinating museum in its décor and mood.

As you climb the stairs, the mood becomes warm and inviting with the staff genuinely friendly and courteous.

The theatre is intimate, and for a first night, was filled to capacity, had an eclectic mix of ages, backgrounds, occupations, genders, couples and individuals of varying sexual preferences.

The mood in the theatre is enhanced by the lighting, stage design, props and set construction of the truly original genius of Lionel Curtis, in co operation with the stage manager Kate Watson. They dressed the set (that included the audience) using his lighting art with brilliant metaphor…for example, the Giraffe in the room, the MUNCH SCREAM aka Flipper wall sconces.

Costume art design and poster graphics are perfectly created by recently graduated Ash Hoskin.

Ash Hoskins' Eyelash dress
Ash Hoskins’ Eyelash dress

The play is the first act of Harvey Fienstein’s Torch Song Trilogy.

We are swept into the tortured emotions of fruitlessly pursued love and lust with its associated emotional torture, so expertly portrayed by both Arnold (a drag queen) and Ed (his on again/off again bisexual “lover”), with the quest and reality for a love that will never shine for either Arnold or indeed Ed.

The sexual orientation of the characters though is not the major power of the play.

The power and associated agonies is something that any human who has chased love pointlessly and achieved only a frustrating and unfulfilling outcome will totally identify with. And even the battles of establishing what is the dream of most people – the perfect partner.

The mood of the audience was like my own.

One of total identity with the moods, frustrations and verbal battles that occur in any relationship that has no hope of surviving or fulfilling the want for a true and meaningful love to match our dream. The audience was clearly identifying their own experiences with the futility of love gone wrong. Tangibly.

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Adam Hetherington, Jacob Antolini and Meredith Fuller

I must have personally used most of the spoken and unspoken lines over my life’s emotional journey; in trying to define myself in relation to someone I had a real attraction and desire for… I certainly have experienced the anguish in trying to define myself as well as the relationship I was endeavouring to achieve in life.

This made the audience feel a real part of what was being portrayed on stage. We had all been through relationships and battles for identity and understanding in love. It was more a mirror of ourselves, than just a play to watch.

Everything about this production was delivered with authenticity, expert performances and power. We were swept along with the characters for the entire performance. We all can identify with the same pointless agony, denials and desperation. It is so human. An amusing and heartbreaking experience. Life.

International Stud runs nightly at 7 pm until this Sunday, the 14th of February. An interesting conclusion to Valentine’s Day.

Tickets are almost completely sold out.

Don’t let yourself miss this production. We are all represented in it. It will leave a lasting and favourable impression.

Tickets are from $25 to $32 dollars and can be purchased online at
thebutterflyclub.com

Review by Rod Harris

​B&W shots by Selby Markham

Colour shots by Ash Hoskins

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