Luke Devine presents the compelling story of growing up gay in Tasmania, a story that’s both hilarious and gut-wrenching.
At the Hare Hole in Fitzroy, Luke Devine presents - as spoken word - the compelling story of his life as a Tasmanian, born and bred from original convict stock. Devine’s performance is more of a reading than a show, which works perfectly within this intimate venue and given the personal nature of the subject matter. Devine’s awkwardness and humility leaves the audience unprepared for the quality of what is to follow. He stands on a small platform in white footy shorts nervously shifting his weight from one leg to the other while reading from his pink foolscap notes.
The first half of the performance is unaffectedly funny, very funny, before it takes a slow pivot to reveal the darker truths behind Devine’s experience of life as a gay boy in Tasmania in a low socio-economic environment where relatives seem to lurk in all corners of the landscape. Devine’s personal account of the brutality and bigotry he faced in everyday life is both harrowing and enlightening, hinting at the underbelly few are privy to on their fleeting trips to the ‘apple isle’. Through his childhood he is ostracised, battles anorexia, and lives with domestic violence. Despite the obvious hardships he endured, at no time in the performance does the audience get the sense that he is being self-indulgent. His humility and self-effacing humour prevent it from dipping in this direction.
Comic timing and a pacey narrative make this a suitable show for live performance. Devine’s reading of it, although hesitant at times, imbues the material with an immediacy and poignancy. The writing alone, however, is so finely crafted that it would be a shame not to extend it into a long-form memoir for publication.
Overall, a thoroughly captivating performance.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Land That Time Forgot
By Luke Devine
Hare Hole, Fitzroy
Melbourne Fringe Festival
Until September 27