Review: Hubris and Humiliation at STC

Wedding bells are ringing, debt collectors are knocking, engagements are being rejected, accepted and pursued. No, this isn’t Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—it’s Lewis Treston’s Hubris and Humiliation, which has just had its world premiere at Sydney Theatre Company as part of WorldPride.

Elliott (Roman Del) has been in love with his best friend, Warren (Ryan Panizza) since forever. But when Warren finds himself a wealthy older fiancee, Elliott realises he has to put himself out there and start dating again. When Elliott’s mum (Celia Ireland) reveals that she’s given a catfish her life savings and is about to lose the family home, Elliott decides to move to Sydney, find a wealthy husband and save the family.

Once he arrives, Elliot moves in with his cashed-up uncle (a show-stealing Andrew McFarlane) who introduces him to the crème de la crème of Sydney’s wealthy gay dating scene. What follows is two hours of silliness as Elliot navigates various prospective suitors, and tries to separate what the heart wants, from what the bank account needs. The play’s first half is a raucous, energetic thrill, and while the second half doesn’t have quite the same momentum, the ending still leaves a smile on your face.

Isabel Hudson’s stylish set effortlessly changes locations, while Mathew Frank sound design and Alexander Berlage’s lighting design give the story a lively pop edge. I particularly enjoyed Hudson’s bright and colourful costume design, particularly in the Ball scene.

The entire cast are hilarious, but particular highlights include Melissa Kahraman as impulsive sister Paige, Andrew McFarlane as eccentric uncle Roland, and Henrietta Enyonam Amevor playing a range of charming supporting characters.

Treston’s writing is witty and intelligent, paying homage to Austen while also creating a fun, campy story that stands on its own. Director Dean Bryant has delivered an energetic laugh-out-loud production—Hubris and Humiliation is a joy— a sparkly, fizzy delight.

Jo Bradley


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