Bermuda. A clever title for what is essentially a love triangle filled with all kinds of problems. I was told that Bermuda would question whether love is a conscious decision we make to satisfy our own desires and I’m still unsure whether the question was asked, let alone answered. An intriguing concept, sexy saxophone and intimate space introduced Max, Dakota and Sam’s intricate world, but do we really feel welcomed?
Before we go any further, I’ll admit it, I’m incredibly gullible. So when the lead actors approached me asking if I was here for their engagement party, I apologetically answered “No” thinking there had been a double booking of venues. Even after their second attempt to prove that it was a preshow performance, I entered the space feeling manipulated and exposed. Perhaps this is what they wanted. It seems fitting for the show’s focus on sex, adultery and secrets, but the feeling of awkward embarrassment began within myself and extended into the show’s beginning.
The space itself was wonderful. The Lucky Duck’s out-the-back patio lined the performance space with a cement staircase, giving the stage depth and places for characters to hide. What was unsettling for me was what the performers did with it. With the audience either craning their necks to watch crucial moments of development, or having items of clothing and condom wrappers thrown at them, I felt the niggling sense that we were not invited to this engagement party, we were not welcome into their flat, and we were fighting to keep up with the beginnings of the short and snappy play.
As we slowly got to know Max (Lachlan Smith) and Dakota’s (Athena Rohrsheim) relationship beyond the honeymoon phase, I felt an embrace of our presence which gradually became a guest for each of the lovers to confide in. While overlapping monologues sharing guilt and pain gave me the welcoming I had entered wanting; their repetition wavered my resolve. The back and forth of each character’s feelings was like watching a game of tennis. It was captivating at first, but with each new update throughout the play we weren’t given a great deal of new information. Within each of these moments there were overlaps of the same driving phrases, which again was originally clever but after the third and fourth time felt forced. Pair that with a muffled amplification of prerecorded conversations in bars that rushed over the beginnings of two of the relationships – and may in fact have been some of the play’s most electric writing – and I was feeling disheveled.
Max (Smith) and Sam (Hannah Barr) however, were a light at the end of a very long tunnel. Their chemistry together brought a moment of believable sexuality as smooth as the live saxophone that filled the gaps between each scene. As more twists were revealed – some predictable, others shocking and disturbing – I felt teased by the brevity of the lovers’ stage time. It was as if the line between points on the triangle had been drawn and then quickly erased. Both Smith and Barr brought wonderful heart and charming fire to each of their characters, so I was disappointed when their moments alone together were cut so short.
Max was the perfect combination of sexy and vulnerable. Smith brought a wonderful presence and needed level of testosterone to the threesome – and heck, if he fooled me out at the bar; he definitely fooled me again with his wonderfully executed fake Scottish accent. Barr brought a spice to the show which was definitely needed. With no more than a few sly smirks and sultry slinks around the apartment she matched Max’s sexual power with a countered femininity, which is why I was so disappointed not to see more!
Bermuda gave impressions that weren’t fulfilled, relationships that were cut short and questions that weren’t necessarily answered. For a splice of life play (not to be confused with their “little slice of paradise” tagline) about twenty-something couples, it is unsettling and at times confrontational but for what it claims to be, it felt just a little too ambiguous.
This review is based on the reviewer’s experience of the performance on May 9th.