Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
Two exes walk into an elevator – it sounds like the start of a bad joke. But what happens when the elevator stalls, and the laughing stops? What are the recently separated couple (played by Lana Filies and Flynn Mappleback) to do to pass the time? Expiration Date gives us the good, the bad and the ugly in a breakup, and shows that love isn’t always enough to sustain.
Playwright and one half of the two-hander cast Lana Filies is successful, tightly wound and fiercely, proudly independent. She knows what she wants, and it doesn’t involve children or settling down. Mappleback is a relaxed and playful puppy of an ex boyfriend, loveable until you realise his care for Filies was predicated on the expectation that she would change her mind about having his family. His bitterness towards her for not fitting this vision for their life emerges unsettlingly slowly before erupting in a vitriolic spray you wouldn’t think the character capable of.
While their dialogue can be a little heavy handed, Filies’ indignancy at his double standards and accusations of selfishness comes from a place of truth that is impossible to ignore, and her desperate attempts to articulate it in the face of Mappleback’s all-too-convincing portrayal of performative allyship will resonate with every woman in the audience.
The setting of the elevator is key to the story – if only because that’s the only environment imaginable in which two recent exes would spend a prolonged period of time speaking to each other. Lily Hayman’s direction distinguishes light-hearted scenes in which the characters try to keep themselves entertained from the more serious moments of reflection and intimacy, and uses single, unobtrusive setting allows the conversation to traverse small talk, arguments and genuine reflection without distraction. Each new moment of mutual connection, however trivial (rock, paper, scissors anyone?) on what clearly was once a very loving relationship makes their parting, however necessary, more heartwrenching.
Hayman and Filies’ approach to the topic of abortion seeks to embody the fear many women are facing due to the regressive policy reform currently sweeping the US, most notably the overturning of Roe v Wade. It is impactful, of course, but is introduced without explicit mention of that context, which would have helped it to really hit home. Filies’ understanding of the complexity of the issue is clear, however, and will only mature in future pieces.
This is a story seeking to give two exes a happy ending by allowing them, and particularly Filies’s character, to unapologetically pursue the life they want rather than live according to others. Bold and ambitious, take your feminist friends and guys that need a reality check.
Purchase your ticket to Expiration Date here.
Semillon Dessert Wine | Wine Pairing
Dessert wines made from white varietals are intoxicatingly sweet and syrupy, delicious as an aperitif or to end a good meal. Not a wine for aging, once you open the bottle you only have a short window to enjoy before it goes bad. Don’t wait so long to experience it that you miss the expiration date. Enjoy in the moment.
My Pick: Ernest Hill Wines NV Luna Spark dessert wine, Hunter Valley, NSW
A bubbly concoction of honey, lemon and candy flavours from late-harvest Semillon grapes dominate the palate. It’s fun, punchy and wonderful while it lasts.
Expiration Date, Purple Tape Productions | Tasting Notes
|Aussie Season||27 Apr to 13 May, Purple Tape Productions, Meraki Arts Bar, Sydney NSW|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, romcom|
|See it if you like||classic 2000s romcom movies|
|Wine Pairing||Semillon dessert wine|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||Sweet, drink-now|