Festival Performance: Lucia Melts

Two people in a room, caught in the throes of post-love affair meltdown, attempting to redefine the space between them. It’s disaster movie stuff, as they act out the same old scene, chock-full of cliched phrases, mutual suspicion and occasional lapses in terms of intimacy issues.

If such a description of Oscar van den Boogaard’s play for tg STAN sounds like heavy wheather, rest easy. Because, in the hands of actors Steven Van Watermeulen en Sara De Roo, it’s a playfully felicitous affair, wholly in touch with its own artifice and brimming with good humour at the infinite absurdity of its eternal themes.

In the up-close-and-personal confines of The Hub, the pair engage in idle banter with the audience, checking their own linguistic failings with a self-deprecatory charm that gives things a fresh, in-the-moment feel. Moving about a carpet on which an entire domestic history is mapped out, Van Watermeulen and De Roo play their way through an entire process of familiarity breeding contempt, frustration, fondness, regret and reconciliation.

Self-conciously quirky, tg STAN is here exploring everyday, instantly recognisable melodramas in a bright, light and utterly refreshing style, where informality invites empathy and warmth. Given its subject, Lucia Melts is curiously and really rather wonderfully life-affirming, too. Anger is vanquished and replaced by a joie de vivre that recognises its own ridiculous beauty. It’s a delightful parody of true romance, with all the self-destructive trimmings attached. If it recognises that nothing lasts forever, Lucia Melts remains a goofy, kooky but ultimately loving replay of the tenderest of traps.

The Herald, Neil Cooper, August 23rd 2004