10
Jun
13

Delicacy

Delicacy 

Brisbane Arts Theatre 

24th May – 15th June 2013

 

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

 

Delicacy, by Melbourne playwright Julian Hobba, is a two-handed drama based on the joyless true story of two German men – Armin Meiwes (“Der Metzgermeister”) and Bernd Brandes – who met in an internet chatroom devoted to cannibalism. Meiwes advertised to meet a “well-built man who wants to be eaten”. Brandes posted a reply that said: “I offer myself to you and will let you dine from my live body.”

“It leads us to the place where thinking stops.” Investigating Officer, Wilfried Fehl

Delicacy was first seen in 2006, at Melbourne’s Trade Hall, directed by Wesley Enoch and featuring Luke Mullins & Paul Denny.

 

This is by far the strangest play I have seen yet. What makes it even more chilling, is the knowledge that this story is based on real life events. The depravity of this production’s characters is horrific, and terrific to watch.

 

Unexpectedly, more often than not, some moments came off as comical. I still can’t decipher if this was the director’s, or the cast’s intention. If so, then they were successful. If not, I can only say it is within human nature to cope with things of such morbidity by resolving that it is humourous. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to process some of the content if I didn’t think it was in jest and intentionally bizarre in order to make me laugh.

 

Another reason for finding some moments to be comical might also fall upon the cast themselves. All the elements were there. I just couldn’t believe it. Perhaps that’s not them, that’s me and my reading of it; as audience members we’re protecting ourselves from fear. Then again, Greg Scurr, as the meek Denny, just wasn’t selling it. The character himself seemed contrite, like a bad homage to Norman Bates. Difficult to do convincingly, the old thespian art of fake blood spill has been mastered. I couldn’t see the source of the fake blood at all, which gave me the shivers.

 

Despite the comical moments, there were still many times when I was unsure of my emotion. Fearful isn’t exactly the right word. The phrase, “Oh My God, is that his…?” was murmured a lot. As was, “What the hell?” whispered most likely too loudly. There aren’t many shows that can achieve that sort of reaction without any full frontal nudity involved. Merely by their darkness, these characters transported us to a world of inevitable death and outlandish horror.

 

Also noteworthy, was the fact that everything (except the blood and drugs), was real. Something you rarely see on a community theatre stage; Rachel Cherry’s design included a real functioning kitchen with a real fridge, with real food served and consumed on stage. I suppose I should assume for my own comfort that the masturbation scenes were acted. Those perhaps went on a bit too often and unnecessarily. The crudeness of it made it intriguing to begin with, and then it became comical. But finally I found it to be nauseating and over done.

 

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Delicacy is a bizarre and unexpected discourse of a play if ever I saw one. Bring a friend along if you do care to see the show. Be wary and open minded, and leave the children at home.

 

WARNING: Delicacy contains adult themes, graphic violence and coarse language. Not recommended for those under 18 years.

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