Little Black Box - March 2007

Mutzenball explores the inner most desires of humans to be loved and cared for veiled under the guise of sex. It tells the story of 5 individuals each struggling with their own sexual inhibition or promiscuity told through the confronting tales of the characters sexual experiences. Mutzenball aims to awaken their audience to the inner sufferings of the sexually driven characters, by revealing their insecurities in emotional and explicit retellings of their occasion. The format utilises humor to rescue the audience from the pressure of the emotional torment the characters are expressing, and to carry the serious message light-heartedly to its conclusion.

Skillfully executed by the talented cast this production succeeds on so many levels. The content is confronting and un-abating, and some audience members could be forgiven for needing to ‘look in the other direction’ from time to time, but never is the voyeuristic styling used to excess or without purpose.

Lori Farmer heads up the cast introducing the audience to each of the characters and tying the un-threaded storyline together in a musical burlesque, much like the ring master in a circus. Her performance is convincing and at times moving for the audience and her intensity and emotional control believable.

Claire Dunn’s character struggles with the need for emotional contact. She is selling up her sexuality to men for the feeling of love and is being labeled as a ‘slut’, much to her own despondency. As her character attempts to convince both the audience and herself that she is a ‘good person’ her emotional transitions from desire to depression become evident. Claire delivers her role with passion and excitement, and maintains impressive focus.

Sarah Hunt plays a horny, vivacious and respondent young female who is living a lie. Social pressure has Sarah’s character forcing herself to participate in sexual acts she does not want to, and the strain is often too much, with Sarah stopping herself just before the climactic moment. Her acting is powerful and deliberate and her timing is impeccable, delivering relieving comedy one minute and shifting to emotional turmoil the next

Chris Nash has a particularly difficult role to play, though no character has it easy, Chris’ character deals with the pressures of love and homosexuality all in one breath. His ‘deep-throating a cucumber’ scene is poignant, initially brazen, but finally saddening as Chris’ character clearly struggles with his sexuality. Nash is compelling to watch, his energy is enormous and his dedication to his character faultless.

Finally Mario Spate, actor and musician for the piece, his comic timing relieves the audience during some awkward moments and his musical technique sets up some of the most emotional moments. The score under this piece is powerful, relevant, and evocative and allows the actors playing up to the music to push further, stretch the boundaries and explore their sexual realities.

The production company should be congratulated on assembling such a talented cast to translate a difficult and confronting piece. If you miss Mutzenball, check out little black box. There here to stay!

Paul Rodda