LOVE: A MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION
nytheatre.com review by Sharon Fogarty
Under the fine direction of Thom Garvey, Jamie Jackson and SoHee Youn’s
one-man Australian musical asks, "What is Love, Love" (as
opposed to plain old Love). The main character Jamie insists that
his relatives know this deep dark secret, and he courageously transports
us to his underbelly world of Wallagalong, Australia, where we happily
meet the "wise" elders of Jamie’s past and share his realization that
his family is not normal. Or rather, they are normal, but that normal is
threatening, horrific, boring, sleazy, and beautiful.
August 15, 2003
Intimacy runs deep in this show, especially in Jackson’s unexpectedly tugging lyrics, as his voice ranges from a resonant rock to a booming baritone, transforming impressively for each character (including a few women and a dog). Composer Youn accompanies sensitively and provides unique and memorable tunes for Jackson, although curiously limited in pitch range, perhaps to diminish the actor’s vocal strain of toggling so many identities. Together, with Billy Rook’s character-capturing lighting, Garvey, Jackson and Youn have created an important, expressive and notable musical with virtually no set and one actor.
Highly trained and frighteningly focused, Jackson flicks between the likeable, terrifying, and funny characters with expert skeletal and vocal transformation. They include Aunt Celeste, a spinster whose knowledge of men comes from working in a maternity ward; Dad, whose solo discloses his un-readiness to experience the gift of his wife; Mom, who humorously exposes her fantasies; Young Jamie, for whom Jackson’s articulate body becomes the testing, swinging limbs of a growing boy; and finally Sam, a three-legged dog with cab driver wisdom who pivots the plot. The transitions between characters could have gone more slowly for my taste, as the morphings are so beautiful to watch, and are gone instantaneously. Jackson is a must see; his exemplary command and striking presence are deserving of the big stage.