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Pretence - Theatre Review

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by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
In this world of reality TV, is anything what it seems?
Aimee Sanderson and Hayley Lawson-Smith are currently presenting Pretence at The Butterfly Club, its Melbourne premiere. (Lawson-Smith also wrote the show.)

Pretence at The Butterfly Club - Theatre Review
Cleo (Aimee Sanderson) (left) and Maggie (Hayley Lawson-Smith) in Pretence. (Image from The Butterfly Club's website.)

The premise for the show is that two actors have turned up at a venue to audition for a play. They learn each has been asked to audition for the same role. But then some differences start to emerge: why was one actor told to go to the stage door, the other to the front door? Why did one actor receive eight pages of the script, the other only two?

Along with these differences, the contrast between the two actors is stark. Sanderson's Cleo is polished, and trained, and seemingly a confident actor. Lawson-Smith's Maggie is earthy and gritty. Each has a different view about how they might play the character they are auditioning for, and each sets about trying to undermine the other actor, in an effort to put the other performer off their game.

Pretence at The Butterfly Club - Theatre Review
Cleo and Maggie try to put each other off their game. (Writer's image.)

Cleo reveals her advantage in the process - a professional relationship with Mr Papillon, who arranged the audition. But even that soon proves to be pretence.

In Pretence, there is some convincing acting, and some very clever scripting, including great one-liners. We're talking gentle rolling laughter rather than tear inducing laugh out loud moments, but it's an entertaining show.

Pretence at The Butterfly Club - Theatre Review
Smile for the camera. (Writer's image.)

Pretence was well awarded on its release in 2015, but I wonder if its tie back to reality TV (without wanting to give the story away) is starting to feel just a little dated? At just 30 minutes running time, the ending seemed abrupt, leaving scope perhaps to refresh and add more content to the show.

Still, it's always better to leave your audience wishing for more!

Pretence plays at The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Melbourne, at 8.30pm on Wednesday 5th, Thursday 6th and Saturday 8th June, and at 5.30pm on Friday 7th June.

Tickets are full - $35, concession - $31. Click here to buy tickets online, or call The Butterfly Club on (03) 9663 8107.

Please note that The Butterfly Club is a licensed venue, and minors can only attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
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*Fiona Anderson was invited as a guest
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Why? Short, sharp, biting comedy
When: 8.30pm on 5th, 6th and 8th June, and 5.30pm on 7th June
Phone: (03) 9663 8107
Where: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place (off Little Collins Street), Melbourne
Cost: Full - $35, concession - $31
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