More dead than bounce in three hearts out of four

5

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DEAD CAT BOUNCE
SBW Stables Theatre, February 27

★★½

We get the thrust. Unrequited love hollows you out; leaves a husk where a heart should have been. In case we didn’t get it, playwright Mary Rachel Brown has Angela, Gabriel’s ex, tell him: “Say goodbye, it is the least you could do if you really do love me… Let go.” Even Gabe​, whose drinking has blunted his keener instincts for doing the right thing, gets the thrust at that point.

Kate Cheel plays the much younger girfriend.

Kate Cheel plays the much younger girfriend.Credit:Brett Boardman

Yet it wasn’t Gabe​ who needed the lecture. OK, so he may have been quietly killing himself with booze, but red wine is a slow train to that particular destination. He tried speeding up the process by gassing himself, but the booze had blunted his smarts for getting suicide right, too.

Gabe​ (Josh Quong​ Tart) is an uninhabitable planet around which the other characters orbit: one lovingly, and two desperately trying to rewrite the laws of gravity. The problem is that he is also the only character we even slightly care about. Yes, the guy whom the playwright paints as selfish and self-indulgent, as surviving in an alcoholic haze amid literary pretensions, is actually earthy and vaguely likeable, while the rest are emotionally shrill and stunted.

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