Review | Laura Money

I’m calling it – 30 DAY FREE TRIAL is the pick of FRINGEWORLD 2020. Presented by two darlings of the Perth Theatre scene, Charlotte Otton and Andrew Sutherland the show is everything you want from a fringe show, and more! It’s a madcap hour-long romp through crazy porn searches, cringey erotic poetry, sex-confessions, and live laptop antics that explores what it is to perform in the simulacra of a screen-mediated culture. Oh, and it’s funny as hell!

Part performance, part presentation, 30 DAY FREE TRIAL is a post-modern wundershow that challenges you to take the red pill and peels back the layers of our performative selves. Pornography serves as a metaphor for theatre and acting, and what it means to perform versions of our selves. It’s a meta piece that really tackles what it means to be an actor/performer in a world that is already performative – think gender roles, age appropriate roles, work roles, heteronormativity. Sutherland and Otton tackle the Foucaultian nature of internet pornography – how we police our selves when it comes to sex and how we are reticent to let loose and leave our inhibitions behind when sex becomes a performance. These phenomena are two sides of the same coin, however –  internet porn hubs allow for anonymity, which then supresses shame and people can truly express themselves with gay abandon.

It may seem like this show is all about getting up close and personal with pornography – and yes there are some moments where this is true – but it is so much more than that. Otton and Sutherland are performing as themselves, with images of themselves present, and through the mediation of a screen. There are replications and presentations of pornographic behaviours, or acting behaviours – it’s all very clever and a bit trippy! Otton is hilarious and heartbreaking trying to recreate the opening lines of a porn movie – you know the bit at the start where the off-camera producer does a ‘getting to know you’ segment and demeans the young women involved? Yeah, that. Otton attempts to sound coquettish and comes across as garish, throwing into stark reality the judgement and paramaters we put on pornography. As the refrain ‘how old are you?’ and ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t’ are repeated and referenced throughout the show, it reinforces the sexualisation of the screen and our propensity to fake it for social media likes.

30 DAY FREE TRIAL is a show like no other – there are charade-like games about porn searches (I recommend waiting till you get home to search some of them yourself), hilarious, snappy dialogue, stream of consciousness, and poignant moments about the fragility of sexuality that are raw and exposing – perhaps we do see more than the surface or the performance in this show after all? It’s a delightfully funny and touching breakdown of performer and audience, actor and person, and social media identity. There’s also the best porn you’ll ever see – but this one is SFW – it’s just – you know what, go and see the show and experience it for yourself!

WHEN: 4th – 8th February 2020 | 9:00pm


INFO: Pricing $28 | Duration 60m | Suitability 18+ | Frequent Coarse Language, Nudity, Sexual References, Pornographic Images | THEATRE


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