Criminology - Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne

Criminology is a play based on the real-life murder of a young man in Canberra. The case is well known in Australia due in part to the light sentence handed down to the young woman who killed him; and to the fact her friends knew of her plans but failed to act to stop her. She was charged with manslaughter and served 4 of her 10 years before being released with her prison-acquired degree in criminology.

So that was the basis of the play - well, up to the murder, anyway. Criminology itself was a binge and purge of simulated sex, drug use and regurgitation that muddled it's way through psychotic episodes to the final dinner party, drugging and murder of the boyfriend.

I'm not quite sure exactly why I didn't like it: I wasn't even invested enough to hate it. I felt sick that somewhere a family was losing/had lost their son, but that was more about the facts of the matter and less about the communication from the characters. There wasn't an ounce of compassion throughout the entire play from a cast of thoroughly unlikeable characters which was probably the entire point.

The play had plenty of simulated sex (simulated masturbation, simulated digital penetration, simulated oral sex) and when is that never a good thing? Well, ok: but pretty sure I might have been a tad more "engaged" if it had been *that* kind of show.

Meanwhile, the actors are allowed to smoke on stage (their place of work) in an enclosed theatre (not unlike a bar or a pub) full of people who aren't permitted to break the new smoking laws with such wild abandon, but they're not (the actors, that is) allowed to *actually* have sex on stage (nor is the audience: we're not allowed on the stage). And what the hell is it that they smoke? cos it stinks worse than any cigarette I've ever passively inhaled.

This goes someway to indicate where my mind was wandering during Criminology while I was trying to ward off a numb bum and a slumbering foot.

I overheard one rather elderly woman on her way out of the theatre "I think there will be some young men who were rather turned on by that. I'm still quite shell-shocked though."

Fox has some great links over at papermilk