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BWW REVIEW: THE TWINS Pairs Popular Comedian and Performer Greg Fleet and Acclaimed Documentary Film Director Ian Darling 40 years After They Last Shared A Stage As Schoo


BWW REVIEW: THE TWINS Pairs Popular Comedian and Performer Greg Fleet and Acclaimed Documentary Film Director Ian Darling 40 years After They Last Shared A Stage As Schoo

Friday 9th April 2021,

Presenting both an insight into both the creative process behind adapting a play and the strength and frailty of human relationships, THE TWINS puts real life on stage as co- writers, Greg Fleet and Ian Darling are also the performers, portraying themselves. Filled with humor, heartfelt stories, soul searching self-exploration and a sense of time running out, this 90 minute one act play directed by Terry Serio and Sarah Butler (also co-writer) is a window into what remains of a friendship formed over 40 years ago.

THE TWINS centers on a pair of 59-year-old men who were best friends at Geelong Grammar School in the late 1970's reuniting to work on presenting a two-hander version of William Shakespeare's farcical comedy, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, which also provides the inspiration for the show's title. While the men first bonded as schoolboys in school drama productions, including as twin Antipholus brothers of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, they drifted apart as they grew up. Ian Darling went on to a corporate life, appeasing his father, before turning to documentary film directing and producing for which he has received a multitude of awards. Greg Fleet followed the duo's love of performing, auditioning for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) only to be expelled after a year but he continued performing as a comedian and actor and publishing books while dealing with a long battle with heroin addiction.

Sarah Butler's design for the work recreates the sparce space of a tin shed studio in Kangaroo Valley on the eve of catastrophic 2019/2020 bushfires. An assortment of chairs, a trestle table and a single archive box dominate the black box space allowing Darling and Fleet to move around the space as they work on their adaptation though they manage little of the production development as they disappear down rabbit holes of memories, contemplations and self-assessment of themselves and the world they grew up in and now live in. The cover topics that range from the understanding that society has progressed and learnt to be better over the past 40 years, the grass is always greener envy of other peoples lives and the annoyance of being defined by labels that people want to put on others that invariable restricts how a person is perceived and treated.

This work is unusual and intriguing in the choice to have both writers perform as themselves particularly given that Darling has not performed since he shared a school stage with Fleet in high school. The difference in training and familiarity with the stage is clear as Fleet presents a natural flowing performance while Darling has a more controlled and cautious manner to his physicality and his speech patterns throughout the 90 minutes. The format of the work uses Morgan Moroney's lighting and a selection of nostalgic songs to break the scenes so the audience is catching moments of the longer process of the two men developing the work and the addition of dance allows the audience to get a better impression of the type of connection the two once shared as schoolboys. The use of direct to audience fourth wall breaking questions and moments of introspection help give insight into the underlying thoughts while adding a variety to the storytelling methods.

THE TWINS is an interesting study on human behavior, friendships, the differing importance people place on memories, regret, guilt and trust. Having the work presented by the writers as performers gives the message a greater gravity as the audience knows the performer hasn't had to interpret another writer's intention to try to connect to the work as it is them and it is their work.

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