Doomsday cults are as common as apocalypses aren’t. If you’d asked what the seminal work is on the matter, I would have readily pointed you to the 1956 classic work of social psychology When Prophecy Fails. As of last night, I am going to rephrase and urge you instead to go and watch ‘The Last Brunch‘. It is punchier, funnier, pretty much just as factual, and more modern. It also covers newer cults. Like yoga.
The first few moments provoked a few of our own moments of cognitive dissonance. A minimalist decorated room. A brunch spread of seasonal fruit & humus. Bearded young men dressed in robes, anxiously arguing politics. Is this Northcote or Antiquity? Are they really wearing gray dacks under their costumes? Is that 7-11 coffee cup a prop…? My plus one inaudibly groaned, fearful this was some biblical play with a high-school shoe-string budget. No, it’s not. Stay with us, doubters, have faith. All will be revealed at the stroke of midnight. Or for us in the audience, after 90 easy minutes of enjoyable and deceptively clever theatre.
The performance is put on by Stage 6, a new theatre group, that in Melbourne you could almost call anti-establishment. Their mission statement is to stand out from the numerous fringe, new wave and experimental productions (nothing wrong with those), by creating new plays that are interesting, affordable and that any person can enjoy. They have easily fulfilled their mission statement with The Last Brunch. Not just that, we were rewarded uniformly excellent acting by all seven actors. Performances were delivered with energy, confidence and a sense of fun that was contagious. This undoubtedly is grounded on the solid work of playwright Ben Dowthwaite. In an independent theatre scene where we often forgive sloppy writing and slipshod productions for their passion and innovative ideas, Stage 6 has delivered a tight, well produced performance that definitely stands out. The Plus Ones definitely look forward to seeing more of your work!
Christian G. is an international man of mystery; lover of books, cats and the performing arts; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.