Review: For The Time Being at Flow Studios

It’s a tale as old as time: one housemate gets a crush on another housemate, even though they definitely should not go there, and their attraction threatens to derail the delicate ecosystem of the entire sharehouse. So goes Lachlan Stevenson’s For The Time Being, a new comedy play produced by Stacks On Theatre which just opened at Flow Studios in Camperdown.

The premise is simple, but very relatable: Four twentysomethings live together in an Australian sharehouse. Gordy (Harlee Timms) has a crush on Vive (Brittany Santariga), but Vive is busy having loud sex every morning with her new boyfriend Johnny (Kyle Barrett), to everybody else’s horror. Jack (James Thomasson) and Pat (writer/director/performer Lachlan Stevenson) just want to host a party. Meanwhile, the imminent landlord inspection is looming over the household like a dark cloud— there’s a LOT of cleaning to be done.

The play takes place over 24 hours and in that time you get a microcosm of the sharehouse experience: they flirt, they fight, they clean, they party, they steal eachother’s teabags, and they talk a lot of shit.

Writer and Director Stevenson (who also performs) has a good ear for comedic timing. He leads a talented ensemble to successfully captures the rhythm of how young people banter with one another. The charm of Stevenson’s writing is how it captures the minutiae of everyday sharehouse living. As a lighthearted sharehouse comedy, the story works well. Although Stevenson’s attempts to add stakes through a backstory with Jack and his absent brother’s fraught relationship didn’t fully land.

Although it is largely an upbeat comedy, the premise of “young people frantically cleaning before a rental inspection” is very timely in our current rental crisis. It served as a potent reminder that in times of rental instability, it is students and low-income earners who suffer the most when landlords take advantage of people’s financial desperation and put profits over humanity.

Produced by Stacks On Theatre, a relatively new company made up of emerging artists, the play made efficient and innovate use of Flow Studios, which is predominantly a gallery space that can be converted to an indie theatre venue on a slim budget.

It’s always refreshing to see contemporary australian work that takes the elitism out of theatre and brings in a young, new audience. I went with friends that aren’t ‘theatre people’ who really enjoyed it, and found the depiction of the twentysomething sharehouse experience amusing and relatable. It’s the theatrical equivalent of a well-written TV sitcom (in a good way).

For The Time Being is a very accessible comedy with broad appeal, and at a neat 50 minutes, theres not a lot of reasons not to see it. I was fondly reminded of Phoebe Waller-Bridges “Crashing” (a British sharehouse comedy sitcom) if it was Australian, and had goon bags hung on washing lines. It’s on for one more week and I would definitely encourage people, particularly young people, to grab a ticket.

Jo Bradley


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