Melbourne’s Butterfly Club hosts Someone Like You in it’s intimate downstairs space as a small audience settle in opposite the cast on the opening night. Set in a parallel universe while grounded in the modern day, Someone Like You explores themes of identity, human relationships and sexuality through it’s relatable text and three energetic performers.
The lighting is naturalistic and the set detailed enough to situate the piece but doesn’t over crowd the small stage; even managing to incorporate a piano which welcomes the audience with soft tones as we enter. The show kicks off with an insight into the lives of a young heterosexual couple who are moving in together, experiencing the usual ‘new relationship’ troubles, i.e. which table to put the lamp on. As the story unfolds with personality differences and varying life goals playing a part in each couple’s relationship; we begin to ask the question of how many relationships are actually based on love and just how many have their foundations in a desire to be loved? Various power plays which often go unnoticed in our everyday lives are highlighted in the witty and well rehearsed script. As I sat watching the couples as their relationships unravelled, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my own relationship and no doubt most relationships between twenty something couples in 2018.
We are then introduced to the issues which unfortunately frequently arise in a great number of gay relationships; the simmering resentment between an out gay man and his boyfriend who is struggling to come out to his parents – an issue which is all too familiar with many gay couples as we struggle to shake off the prejudices so forcefully embedded in society by past generations. This set alongside some organically funny home truths about the current day gay culture – ‘we’ve been together three months – we’re basically married’ was one of my favourite lines. This followed by a young gay couple on their first date hoping to establish what ‘percentage’ of gay each other was. In line with the various stories there was a common theme present throughout the piece as humanity and sexuality was explored – this being that a relationship is a relationship and many of the exact same issues trouble a heterosexual couple as they do a homosexual couple.
Although the script was well rehearsed and the space utilised effectively I did feel that there was room for more moments of stillness in the piece; leaving an extra beat or two between lines could have enabled the performers to convey more sincerity at the play’s pinnacle moments. The idea of the show being set in a parallel universe with a distorted narrative and the suggestion of intertwining stories also allowed for a more interesting watch and set the piece slightly outside the genre of naturalism.
Altogether a well rounded piece of theatre which explores various aspects of modern life, our inherent need for human contact and ultimately how far we are willing to go to make a relationship work. Some very interesting themes occupy this play which definitely have room to be explored in more depth, it’s great to see a new company putting fresh work out there!