Mockingbird Theatre is a fantastic company that does fantastic work. Last year I was lucky enough to see the company perform Equus, which was a stunning production. Every part of Equus struck the right note and it would have be one of my favourite shows of 2013. However this year’s season launching production of Jon Maran’s The Temperamentals, didn’t hit the same pitch I expected of Mockingbird.
“The Temperamentals is a play about the founding fathers of the Mattachine Society – a gay activist group formed during the 1950s in Los Angeles. During this period, society was highly conservative and homosexuals were regarded as being predators, perverse and mentally ill. Any slight suspicion that someone was homosexual could have result in them being arrested and subsequently, attaining a criminal record. It was a highly dangerous time for anyone to admit their homosexuality, let alone live their true authentic lives as gay people.” – Angelo De Cata.
Reflecting back on the production, the weakest part of it for me was in fact the play itself. While I understand what it was trying to tell us, it seemed dated and old, which is a conflicting proposition as it was only written in 2009. Yes it was set in the 1950s and homosexuality was taboo at the time, but I just didn’t feel anything for the characters. The set, lighting and costuming were fine; a reliable cast was present, with a standout performance coming from Tim Constantine and with some of the cast playing multiple roles. The direction by Chris Baldock was strong, yet I still struggle to work out why this production didn’t grab me as I hoped it would.
While The Temperamentals didn’t seize my attention and draw into the story, I must say this about Mockingbird Theatre: they are one of the finest independent companies in Melbourne with high quality productions. I look forward to being exposed to great things from this company in the coming year.