Chiang Mai, Thailand
December 12, 2008
Provocative, intriguing and captivating! The Gate Theatre yet again entices the Chiang Mai audience with its sexy production "The Eight : Reindeer Monologues". Written by Jeff Goode and directed by Gate Theatre's very own director Stephan Turner, the play was able to enthral an exclusive audience in the classy ambience of the Art Space.
The series of eight monologues bring a different, almost radical treatment to the entire Christmas holiday theme. The dark comedy unfolds itself when one of the Santa's reindeers accuses him of sexual assault. While the entire episode comes to light, the reindeer share their own stories. And what opens up is a pandora box of accusation and tales of perversion. Even the reputation of a saint is at stake when the murky business is revealed at the North Pole. The Christmas affair is being turned totally upside down.
While the entire group of actors including professionals and amateurs managed to grip audience attention, there were few who exploited the wicked sense of humour of Jeff Goode all to their benefit. Ralph Cotterill made the audience take the role of Hollywood quite seriously. The old weird character chattering on "ins and outs" of the movie world, and what a reindeer goes through makes one laugh and wonder simultaneously. Dave Arnold playing Comet gave a full sequence of laughter to the audience with his witty style and natural delivery of comic lines. He made Comet totally believable and exposed his dark side to the audience with a great amount of ease and comfort.
At the same time Dee Fancett managed to make her presence felt by portraying Blitzen in a subtle yet convincing way. The underlying politics in the lines of her character kept the audiences heads up during the performance. Vixen was surely one of the most talked about and controversial characters played by Laura Godtfredsen. With the seductive mannerism and body language of Vixen, Lauara was able to prominate the hints towards women hood, sexuality, morality and so called political correctness. Similarly Brian Brown as Dasher brought a lot of energy to the stage and Brian Hubbard as Donner managed to keep the interest going in what the reindeer narratives had to offer. The Dancer played by Santia was another feminine presence between the reindeers.
Among all the performances though, the actor who truly brought stage to life with his wonderful performance was Bradley Dean Whyte playing the "pink" Cupid - the gay reindeer. Bradley's way of being totally comfortable in the skin of Cupid made the character much more convincing and enjoyable than one would expect. The bold hints and gestures toward sex and views on sexuality made his entire performance totally intriguing. He left many in the audience open mouthed.
The Gate Theater deserves the praise for making a daring selection of such intriguing piece of literature. Stephan Turner director of this play and founder of the Gate Theater Group has yet again managed to bring a talented bunch of people together and entertain the Chiang Mai audience with something very upbeat and challenging. The performances of "The Eight" will continue on 21, 24, 26, 27 and 28 December at the Art Space.