Set in 1986, in three neighbouring houses on Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, Hard On is three short plays following the experiences of the different residents of each house during Mardi Gras.
The play opens with a circus performing host, Anita Root, hand-standing skilfully across the stage floor topless then informing us of the commotion, explicit language and fun to follow.
An authentically decorated set, complete with fluorescent posters from the 80’s, with disco lighting in conjunction with a soundtrack of classic hits from ’86 belting out of the speakers, sets the tone for the show and introduces its colourful characters.
In the first of the three short plays we meet Chris, (played by Sam Harris), who falls deep in lust with the newly crowned Gay Bachelor of the Year (Patrick James), after a passionate night of sex. This story touches on issues involved in one night stands and gay relationships, in my opinion, still ever present today.
Next door to the quarreling duo, we meet a pair of highly entertaining wannabe lesbians who are throwing a party for the first time. With the bash not going quite as they had planned, the girls start to unravel in a truly amusing fashion.
In this second instalment to the show, Jane Porter and Lillian Gantner deliver incredibly comical and entertaining performances.
Across the road, in the third house for the evening, we meet the local Unicorn (played by the Director of the show, Brian Cobb), in denial about his sexuality and living with two other housemates – all struggling to live harmoniously due to his antics.
Along with Miranda O’Hare and Cobb, James (acting in all three plays) makes a return to the final installment in a very authentic portrayal of a dubious peacemaking housemate, Stanley.
Arguably, the most impressive performer of the evening was the director, Brian Cobb. His somewhat absurd but incredibly clever and riotous execution of the Unicorn left the crowd on opening night in hysterics.
Along with the three short stories there are injections of heartfelt serious history lessons from our host (played by Sanela Hasanovic) and a crafty plug for the plays’ sponsors that provided for a very engaging, lively, witty and enjoyable night of entertainment.