A new Australian show that was born from Gasworks’ 2015 Playtime readings for new works, Gone won the Playtime New Theatre initiative and has gone on to be supported by the City of Port Phillip Cultural Development Fund.

The show written and directed by Dion Teasdale is wickedly funny, with cringe worthy LGBTI humour, clever words and fantastic performances. In our modern culture dominated by dating apps, social media and muscle worship, Gone is a comedic exploration of body image and sexuality, and what happens when a man (and a gay man)’s sexual power is diminished.

Gone embraces the clever use of social media to navigate the coming of age and a significant milestone: 40 years old. Alex Riley, erotic fiction writer, wakes up on his 40th birthday to find his penis is gone. Who can help with the baffling news? Who will believe him? Riley and his parents, exes, Grindr dates and colleagues band together to find the truth, and the lost appendage. Gone follows how Riley reacts and changes to his new body, and how his peers view him, and he views himself.

The performances by Daniel Fischer, Walter Hanna and Michael Treloar are incredibly versatile, as the cast rotate through a variety of roles from family to lovers and colleagues. From accents to rhyming to the snap switches between characters, this is a talented cast with great comedic timing and are well rehearsed. Costumes are a clever device for Fischer and Treloar to transform from male and female characters, from mother and father to various lovers, the doctor and the editor. The simple but effective costumes allow complete changes in pace, where I actually forgot about the other characters were played by just two people, often wondering why they all couldn’t be in one big scene together.

Lighting by is bluebottle incredibly intelligent, creating moods and spaces and stark contrasts across the Gasworks stage, from performance art and dance sections to the journey of one wild birthday. The stage is simple but well used, with three large blocks creating a variety of venues for the show to take place upon. The transitions are good, with good sound design and subtle coloured lighting to continue the mood across the piece. The cast of three is also responsible for arranging the set each scene, and does this with grace while also completing detailed costume changes.

It’s sad to see that opening night is marred by rude late comers and a phone ringing just about out before being turned off. Despite the show, and our reality being dominated by social media and technology, you’d think social etiquette in the theatre and around technology should no longer be an issue.

The only qualm I have with the show is that I wish it had provided more of a resolution to the story. Without giving too much away about the show, its reveals and the performances, the show is short, sweet and wrapped up in a little over an hour, and while the show only takes place across one day, it does still feel a little unresolved at the end.

This is a gorgeous tale of the modern family and love suitable not for children, but for adults of all ages and sizes. A story of acceptance and finding yourself, getting older and loosing your manhood, this embarrassingly funny and witty show will have you in stitches. Catch the show at Gasworks Arts Park Theatre in South Melbourne before it heads to the Brisbane Powerhouse.

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