4 Min Read

Laugh, Cry, Repeat: Much Stuff

“They have so much chemistry! I want them to be together.” -Random theatre patron in The Blue Room toilets.

There’s nothing like a toilet testimonial to confirm the failure or success of a show. In the case of Much Stuff, calling it a success is an understatement.

Lily Boss-Bailey may have written one of the most relatable pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen. Gabrielle Wilson (Blake) and Morgan Dukes (Charlie) play two besties, whose intense and co-dependent relationship hovers in the unspoken space between friendship and love. While the story of their relationship doesn’t unfold chronologically, we’re offered pivotal scenes such as their first interaction and somewhat a closure of their co-dependency. Between these scenes, Lily grants us access to moments that are tender, funny, and confronting. (The kind of experiences that would keep you up at night as you replay them in your head.)

Much Stuff. Photograhy by Sophie Minissale. 

There are lots of subtleties to this show, brought out superbly by Gabrielle and Morgan, who, as demonstrated by the toilet testimonial, had the audience enthralled by their connection. Lily has not made this an easy script for any performer to take on; it’s layered, demanding, switches tones quickly, and has very self-aware humor. But it’s no sweat for this duo as they move through the show like it’s second nature.

I’m not sure what I was expecting on a Tuesday night at The Blue Room, but it wasn’t to be on the verge of tears as Morgan Dukes provided an intensely moving and heartbreaking monologue, especially while her character was tripping on a mysterious substance. Having seen Morgan in a completely different role in ‘SYDNEY II: Lost and Found,’ she was unrecognisable as Charlie, showing true depth as a performer. Gabrielle equally thrives in her role as Blake, balancing the exterior of a cool girl who everyone wants to be around or be with against deeper, complex issues.

It’s evident that director Eliza Smith innately understands Lily’s writing and all its nooks and crannies. Their direction is truly dynamic, expertly taking the audience into the light and dark of this story. While the show does contain serious themes, Eliza ensures this doesn’t drag audiences down. Instead, it enables empathy and understanding for the characters. The humor of this production must also NOT be downplayed; its realism and frankness provide constant laugh-out-loud moments (and snorts), leaving audiences on a high as they leave the theatre.

Much Stuff. Photograhy by Sophie Minissale. 

The design elements of Much Stuff are pure genius. Without revealing its secrets, William Gammel’s set is incredibly innovative and a source of continuous awe and joy. The most I’ll say about this is, it’s like a drag queen reveal on steroids. I can imagine this was a dream set for Eliza and the cast to work with. Amber Lorenzi’s lighting design feels like one that’s been developed after years of experience. I was surprised to read they’re in their final year of university. This warm, beautiful, and intricate design is at one with this story, completely enhancing every moment. It provides lots of cues for Stage Manager Holland Brooks to expertly hit, who also cameos as a smooth and kinda sassy disembodied voice (talk about multitasking).

Much Stuff is a production that fires on all cylinders. Its poignant writing and outstanding delivery will leave you mulling over moments long after this show is finished (very convenient if you’re a reviewer!). Your brain will beg you for a second viewing.

Much Stuff is on now at The Blue Room Theatre through to October 28.