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SIDEKICKS- Reviewer Tony Laumberg

Dan Ilic and Emily Rose Brennan joust in Stephen Vagg's SIDEKICKS

You can’t quite prepare yourself for your first visit to the Old 505 Theatre. It’s an adventure up a lift to level 5 and then through a labyrinth of what can best be described as 20th century Bronx architecture.

However, on arrival you are greeted by a small, intimate space where you just know raw talent is bursting to entertain you. Tonight’s fare is the Stephen Vagg penned SIDEKICKS billed as a romantic comedy about a couple told from their best friends’ point of view.

This is a two-hander starring Emily Rose Brennan as CB and Dan Ilic as Mac, the sidekicks. But there’s the rub. From the outset these two cannot even agree on whether they are actually sidekicks. The forlorn and somewhat traumatised Max is resigned to being a bit player whose “best lines end up on the cutting room floor” whereas the headstrong and energetic CB is insistent that not only is she the captain of her own fate but “we’re all stars of our own show on the God Channel.”

In order to resolve this impasse CB insists that Mac prove that they are both sidekicks otherwise he has to join her in going to the airport to stop her best friend, Robyn, ending up with the wrong man instead of Mac’s best friend, Hunter.

We are then treated to a series of flashbacks where events are paraded like evidence at a criminal trial to prove not only whether the sidekick label is justified but to show us how both Robyn and Hunter met and, even more importantly, how CB and Mac met. Could it be that our alleged sidekicks are the real love interest in this tale?

Brennan and Ilic shine as an apparently mismatched couple who have nothing in common but a liking for bacon and egg rolls. But it’s when the actors play the couple’s best friends and swap genders so that Ilic is Robyn and Brennan is Hunter that things takes an unexpected and interesting twist.

The scenes involving CB and Mac trying to figure out whether they are actually attracted to each other and want to have sex and the gung ho aftermath are a highlight. Brennan is effervescent and I think enjoys playing a bloke! In contrast Ilic is understated and beautifully nuanced in his performance. The director, Louise Alston, keeps the action flowing and ensures you give a damn about this most unusual couple. It’s worth the ride up to level 5!

Stephen Vagg’s SIDEKICKS opened at the Old 505 Theatre, Level 5, 342 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills on Saturday 3rd November and runs until Sunday 18th November, 2012.

© Tony Laumberg

4th November, 2012

Tags: Sydney Theatre Reviews- SIDEKICKS, Stephen Vagg, Old 505 Theatre, Emily Rose Brennan, Dan Ilic, Sydney Arts Guide, Tony Laumberg.

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