Charming, delicate, and deliciously self-mocking this lovingly crafted one man show is an absolute winner.
Johnny is a fourteen year old logged onto a chat room as LBJ. There he meets Markymark. A football star a couple of years his senior. Markymark mistakes LBJ to be a girl. Oh the deliciousness of it all. What pranks could a fourteen year boy pull on the older lad? Well, not so much of a prank. No, in fact, Johnny falls in love with him.
For serious right? Well, yes, but also a lot of bloody fun.
You see, what is poor old Johnny (as LBJ) going to say to him when he wants to meet? That’s right, Markymark is a regular horny teenage boy who’s going to want to see this LBJ in the flesh (if you get my drift), I mean, really wants to see this LBJ. Clearly this isn’t going to work for Johnny. And so the real deception begins. LBJ gets a step-brother, then another step-brother (actually Johnny) then a dangerous ex-boyfriend out for revenge, parents, obviously – and well – the cast of fictitious characters begins to outweigh the actual. Indeed a veritable army of online handles come into existence all designed to help Johnny get his man. And does he? Well, you’ll have to see it.
Our hero is brilliantly writ and played. The language walks this beautiful balance of teenage innocence crossed with an adult sophistication able to comment on the shear absurdity of the increasingly complex story Johnny creates.
Sure the play captures unrequited love, but perhaps more interestingly, there is a real art to the way Johnny goes about playing his creations. Throwing himself deep into the lie, so even he begins to lose sight of the real.
I Love You, Bro is one of those rare theatrical treats where we get to be kids and adults, where we laugh, where we barrack for our hero, where we go on the roller-coaster too. Although it is based of an English story, it’s Australian theatre at its most fine.
Recommended for all. Take a date, take you’re mum, take your son. Either way you’ll get a good laugh and a fine night out.
Show watched Thursday 22nd July 2010.
Playing at La Boite Theatre at the Roundhouse. Season extended until 15th Aug 2010.