Tristan Bates Theatre
Reviewed – 15th September 2018
“there were such significant plot holes, it’s challenging to form a developed opinion on what’s left”
Butterfly Lovers is proving itself to be a difficult show to write about. Quite simply, the reason for that is that there were such significant plot holes, it’s challenging to form a developed opinion on what’s left. Following the protagonist’s opening identity crisis, she immediately asks her father if she can go to medical school. After being told that the place for women is in the home, the scene ends.
The next scene opens with her announcing that she’s off to medical school, disguised as a boy. Sadly, I can’t shake the notion that this probably didn’t fully convince her father. Likewise, later in the play the same protagonist has to rush home because her mother is ill. Once she makes it home, the mother makes literally no appearance and is never mentioned again.
Additionally, I found it genuinely hard to tell whether or not the antagonist was supposed to be funny. The homophobic undertones and class based arrogance were unpleasant, but were somewhat undermined by the Disney movie-esque screeches of laughter.
There were some good performances from the small cast, but there was nothing groundbreaking enough to turn the piece around or salvage much from it. The romantic plot was underdeveloped, and the staging managed to feel simultaneously under informative and over complicated.
With a lot of work and significant commitment to change, this piece could go somewhere. But it’s far from being there yet.
Reviewed by Grace Patrick
Tristan Bates Theatre as past of Mélange: The New Musical Theatre Festival