Presented by Matt Byrne Media
Reviewed 4 October 2017
Based on the 90’s British sitcom of the exact same title, Men Behaving Badly focuses on London-based flatmates Gary and Tony and their male misbehaviour and troublesome adventures, and their long-suffering partners Dorothy and Deborah.
Gary and Tony are two male buddies who share not only a flat, but also a lot of life values (or non-values) with similar extreme drinking habits, love of fart jokes, and obsessions with the opposite gender and sex. Gary is a crude womaniser whose laziness rivals that of koalas, while Tony is a somewhat dim-witted man-child who stumbles into the oddest of situations after his music business collapses (in that a strong wind literally blows the store over). Alongside the two males are their love interests; Dorothy, a nurse and Gary’s less-than-amused, long-term girlfriend, and young, blonde Deborah, Tony’s on-again off-again love interest from the flat above.
After approval from the original TV show’s author, Stephen Nye, Matt Byrne’s take on the series is a set of 4 of Nye’s favourite episodes (Bed, Marriage, Drink and Sofa) brought to the stage in this production. Beginning with Bed, the audience are introduced to the constantly horny Gary being turned down for sex by his tired and rather annoyed girlfriend, Dorothy who is struggling to sleep due to having indigestion after eating a meal Gary prepared for her. Concurrently, Deborah can’t sleep because the broken fence in the backyard is making too much noise in the wind, so she uses her womanly ways to convince Tony to go out into the horrible weather to fix it (which he fails miserably at doing). As the night drags on all characters find themselves getting more and more frustrated with their situations, and this seems to be the premise of almost all the episodes.
Many jokes, similar to those in the original television series, are based around British politics, culture and celebrities, some of which felt lost on the Australian audience. The shows other forms of humour relied on either poking fun at individual characters, ridiculous scenarios (a giant snake loose in Tony’s bedroom) and boyish humour about sex, drinking and women, and all completely politically incorrect.
The stage is separated into four different sets at some points (individual bedrooms, the kitchen, a bar, the chemist), with the actors making the most of the entire stage space. The props on stage are appropriate to that of a flat rented by two adult males who act as though they’re still in their teens with empty Fosters beer cans lying about, piles of dishes waiting to be put away on the counter and superhero bedcovers on both Gary and Tony’s beds.
Unfortunately, throughout the show, there were some technical errors with the soundtrack and lighting, but as this was the opening night they may well be fixed. Another technical aspect of Men Behaving Badly is the mini-skits that have been filmed, edited and then projected onto a screen on the backdrop, referencing the play’s origin of being a popular TV show, while also providing a distraction for the audience while set changes are made.
All actors embrace their caricatured characters with exuberance, especially both Rohan Watts as Gary, and Brendan Cooney as Tony who are incredibly believable as the immature and sloth-like buddies. Both lead actresses, Georgia Stockham as Dorothy and Cheryl Douglas as Deborah, are convincing as long-suffering female companions to these immature clowns.
Fans of the original show will love this similar rendition and specific form of humour, while others new to the show may find it’s juvenile humour and politically incorrect take on the world overwhelming.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden St, Hindmarsh 5007
Season: 3 – 21 October
Duration: 2 ½ hours (20-minute intermission)
Tickets: $25.50 – $36.20
Bookings: www.mattbyrnemedia.com.au or 8262 4906
www.holdenstreettheatres.com.au or 8225 8888