CONTENT WARNING: Sexual Assault, Violence, Drugs and Alcohol
NUTS’ production of Rosie Licence’s It’s Not Creepy If They’re Hot captures the nuances of millennial social relations, humiliation, ego and delusion. Through the insightful direction of Sophie Tallis, the production successfully portrays a group of teenagers’ woeful attempts at engaging in drugs, alcohol and sex.
The crux of the play explores sexual violence, and the cast deals with this theme both professionally and compassionately. Caitlin Baker is particularly exceptional as she portrays the emotional and psychological turmoil of Claire, who is date raped by a sober male friend. Baker’s line, “I started thinking how we have to think” is particularly poignant and resonated with the audience on the night I attended. She comments how she is forced to lie about the fact that her drink was spiked with a date rape drug so that her future legal career is not jeopardised. This is just one example of how this play illustrates the unrelenting female plight of having to compromise even your dignity to thrive in a patriarchal landscape. I commend Caitlin Baker and the rest of the cast for sensitively sharing an untold story that happens so much more frequently than we are willing to admit.
Juxtaposed with Claire’s plight is Liv’s superficial and stereotypical fixation with romantic and sexual issues, in particular how she perceives boys and how they perceive her. Played expertly by Portia Elliot, Liv is undeniably self-centred and immature. This is evident when Claire candidly comments on how she “doesn’t have it any harder than anybody else, [she] just makes a lot of noise about it”. This denotes the adolescent need for attention, validation and sympathy. In contrast to Claire’s indescribable anguish, Liv’s unwillingness to confront what happened to her best friend reveals how individuals on the cusp of adulthood often lack empathy. Portia Elliot portrays the unrelenting narrow-mindedness of teenagers in a refreshing and relatable fashion. Her character serves as a nostalgic reminder to the audience of the consuming nature of the social trivialities of parties.
Dhiiren Mongonaraju’s performance as Adam offers much-needed comedic relief, and demonstrates how drug culture enables us to be both present and absent at social gatherings. His friendship with Joel Symon’s character Henry is uplifting, even though it is ketamine that binds them together, and portrays the ‘bromance’ culture that can take precedence over sexual encounters with women.
The cast skilfully delivers the play’s niche jokes, enabling it to truly capture the current social landscape. My favourite of these jokes is when James, played by Emilio Lapitan, asks Adam into what degree he wants to transfer when he says that he studies Arts. Emilio also has an authentic scene with Liv, in which she forces him to answer whether he would be willing to sleep with her. This tragic yet truthful moment accurately depicts the uncomfortable positions into which women often put men while seeking their approval.
I highly recommend going to see this play before it finishes this week. It is relatable, hilarious and intelligent. It explores controversial themes such as sexual assault, violence, drugs and alcohol. I applaud the cast and crew who were brave enough to tell this story.