Written and Performed by Megan Bennetts
Reviewed by Claira Prider
Flight Path Theatre, Marickville
Until 18th November 2023
- A raw, hilarious and heartfelt 'Fleabag-esque' one woman show that explores the impact our sex lives have on the way we see ourselves and how we fit into society -
Set in Newtown's Bank Hotel, Losing It is an unfiltered look at the impact that society’s sexual expectations have on how we identify and connect with others. You know that feeling when you’ve agreed to go on a date, you’ve had your hype girls on the phone while you get ready, you get to the venue and they’re a no show? That sick feeling wondering how long to give it before you bail out. It’s a universal cringe experience (putting yourself out there) and Losing It leaves you feeling like at least you’re not alone.
In the role of Emma, writer and actress Megan Bennetts invites us into her world as she sits in the outdoor seating area of the pub waiting for Mr February. There’s a box of cutlery and napkins, empty schooners, ashtrays, salt and pepper and those stupid QR code things you can order through. It’s not long til her 30th Birthday and Emma’s tired of being a virgin.
Waiting for her date, she breaks the fourth wall to explain to us what’s going on and what’s led her to this moment. Cue Bennetts jumping on the table to demonstrate with charts and diagrams on the blackboard. While online dating is often painfully cringe, she’s refined the process to make it as time and emotionally efficient as possible – one date per month until her 30th Birthday.
Photos by Robert Catto
She switches between characters that are different versions of herself as she reflects on past experiences; her 21-year-old self, getting hit on in a West End theatre, pretending to cum just to get out of a painful and unstimulating carpark fingering, joining her friends in post breakup hate-karaoke and the list goes on. Throughout the work, we’re interrupted by the guy hosting trivia in the room next door whose questions relate directly to the story and reinforce the sense of desperation and feeling ‘other’ throughout the work.
The writing and execution is exceptional; Bennetts is engaging and entertaining, maintaining the audience’s attention consistently through the entirety of the piece. The writing is so refined in the level of attention to detail that makes you realise how universal our feelings of loneliness, self-identity and how we fit into society are. There were a few character changes that could have been a bit slower and clearer, however the use of props such as the vintage jacket from London, the phone calls and the blackboard help to clarify.
One of the things that make this such an enjoyable watch is the humanity on stage and the dissonance we see in Emma – the characterisation and delivery is bold, fierce and funny while content is becoming rawer and more vulnerable. The physical comedy is immaculate – between the disco ball dancing, the blackboard demonstrations, and the reenactment of the physical manoeuvres required for car hook ups with a raw pash rash face from old mate’s pornstache, the performance is non stop laughs.
The work transcends through Emma’s story and invites us to reflect on our own journeys – how our sexual experiences impact how we relate to others, how we see ourselves and where we fit into modern society.
Directed by Nisrine Amine, the work transcends through Emma’s story and invites us to reflect on our own journeys – how our sexual experiences impact how we relate to others, how we see ourselves and where we fit into modern society. Set and lighting designer Victor Kalka uses simple props that facilitated the Australian pub setting brilliantly and spotlit her in her most vulnerable moments, while Christopher Starnawski’s sound design uses percussive sounds that felt like her heart coming out of her chest at one point, while expertly balancing the trivia masters' interruptions with Bennetts' on-stage performance.
Throughout the piece I was alternating between laughing hysterically, cringing so hard I thought I might gag and wanting to give Emma a hug. By the end of the work, she comes to the realisation that she doesn’t want to be someone’s situationship or a notch on their belt, she wants to be treated like a desirable person, and maybe so does Mr February.
Created through Flight Path Theatre’s Katie Lees Fellowship, Losing It is a heartfelt, reflective, unapologetic and raw demonstration of artistry and human experience.