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Theatre 180’s “I and You” gets 4/5 Yawps

From America’s most produced, and popular, living playwright – Lauren Gunderson – comes the WA premiere of the award-winning I and You, a poignant and fast-paced tale of fearlessness, positivity in the wake of darkness, and poetic friendship.

The production is a modern critique on Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and lends itself to a dual-telling of the male and female gaze. Entwined with the American ideals of classic literature, and subtle nuances on privilege, I and You burns with humanity amidst a call to arms for living your best, and most authentic self.

Nestled within Burt Hall on St George’s Terrace, two stand out performers come together in a beautifully orchestrated set. Sophia Forrest comes alive as the bedridden Caroline; steeped in witty rapport which dips in and out of awkwardness when she catches herself getting to hopeful with the dashing Anthony, played by Darius Williams.

Stuart Halusz, the Artistic Director of Theatre 180 (the company) says, “… this beautiful play is devastating in its brutal honesty, bristling with teenage anxiety and desire. Haunting and uplifting, the stunning reveal at the end is the most sublime moment you may ever experience at the theatre. This is not to be missed!”

I and You is a social critique on the taboo conversations surrounding youthful death, and how resilient teenagers are in the face of it. Subtle directions highlight the psychological ebb and flow of the characters, as Caroline becomes passionate, lively, despite her impending dark cloud – which mirrors Anthony, as the topic of death creates compartmentalisation, and desperation, despite his growing warm and light in Caroline’s life.

I and You has such a cinematic aesthetic to its delivery and presence, that you would not be remised in thinking it was the pre-cursor to a Netflix Original Series. Anthony uses art (jazz and poetry) to break through Caroline’s cybernetic exterior, and both come together in a heart-warming romantic friendship.

This production champions art as therapy; as identity; as the expressive purpose in life. Full of brevity, and comedic punchlines, Theatre 180’s I and You is a well-articulated drama that can resonate with all audiences.

I and You is available up until 29 May, tickets can be booked at www.theatre180.com.au

by JOSHUA HALL HAINES
Editor-in-Chief, the Independent Press Co.

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