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The Last Brunch by Stage 6 - Review

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by Mistress of Culture Vultures (subscribe)
I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
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Breaking bread with cult ideologies
On Thursday night I saw Ben Dowthwaite's new play The Last Brunch presented by Stage 6 theatre at Gasworks Arts Park in Albert Park. See more here

Ben Dowthwaite, Jesus, cult, religion, scientology, Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park, theatre, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stage 6
Simon (Jeff Wortman) and James (Patrick Shields) await the arrival of The Chosen One

In The Last Brunch, Dowthwaite takes the biblical New Testament story of The Last Supper and transforms it into a comic examination of the human need to belong, and the desperate attempts one may take to prove or secure their position within the group. This motley crew of perfectly cast disciples prepare a banquet for 'The Chosen One' with the hope and promise that they will 'be saved' and ascend with him into a new world.

Ben Dowthwaite, Jesus, cult, religion, scientology, Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park, theatre, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stage 6
Peter (Ben Paine) and Andrew (Mathew Arter) in The Last Brunch

Peter (Ben Paine) plays the host and the enigmatic leader of the disciples; 'The Chosen One's' right-hand man. He constantly reprimands each disciple for their weaknesses; Andrew (Mathew Arter) for gluttony, Mary (Elizabeth Brennan) for her mobile phone habit, and 'doubting' Thomas (Aidan Niarros) for his 'analytical' mind and questioning whether physical ascension is actually possible.

Ben Dowthwaite, Jesus, cult, religion, scientology, Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park, theatre, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stage 6
Peter welcomes Judas to the table

As expected Judas (Jay Haggett) arrives late to the party, and deflects accusations that he has accepted a bribe to betray 'The Chosen One' to the authorities.

Ben Dowthwaite, Jesus, cult, religion, scientology, Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park, theatre, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stage 6
Mary, James and Thomas putting on their best behaviour for The Chosen One

Despite the logic in Thomas' (Aidan Niarros) questioning, the disciples continue to ignore their own doubts and conform to Peter's charisma and belief that the 'Ascension' is possible, with or without 'The Chosen One'.

After many failed attempts of the group 'ascending' Peter suggests the only way to enable the ascension is to prove his commitment to 'The Chosen One' through consummation. 'Mary' is the obvious victim for this sacrifice and as she is thrown on the supper table by Peter, one of the disciples 'ascends' and she is saved from her fate.

Ben Dowthwaite, Jesus, cult, religion, scientology, Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park, theatre, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Stage 6
Elizabeth Brennan as 'Mary' in The Last Brunch

The play ends abruptly as each disciple 'ascends' from food poisoning, except Simon - as he did not eat the breadsticks.

The Last Brunch is a clever and light-hearted look at how easily we can fall into delusion and hang our hats on beliefs and fail to question the motivations behind ideologies.

I look forward to seeing further developments of The Last Brunch and Stage 6 next production Deus Ex Machina (God from the Machine) at Melbourne Fringe Festival. Book your tickets here
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Why? A lighthearted laugh at human fraility
When: Wed to Sat, 7:30 pm
Phone: 03 8606 4200
Where: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park, Vic, 3206
Cost: $15.00 - $25.00
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