The Butterfly Club is a Melbourne institution, from its South Melbourne beginnings that saw Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect make their debut to the relocation to inner city Melbourne, the club has always offered artists an opportunity to present new work in a professional environment. More well known for presenting cabaret and comedy, Burn it is a departure into “straight theatre,” (the one without all the singing and dancing) that sees the up-and-coming writer and performer Lydia Kuelsen present their first original work for audiences.
The set-up is clear, two friends embark on a camping trip, Jayden (played by Kyle Scott) is recovering from a dramatic breakup, and Cam, (Kuelsen) is attempting to cheer them up with a wholesome outdoor adventure.
As always, the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions and things quickly go awry when Jayden announces “I hate camping” at the opening of the show. While Cam tries to save the situation, the concept of wholesome outdoor activities is quickly replaced with drinking and the kind of raw open conversations you can only have after a bottle of tequila with your best friend.
The show has a heightened energy that leans into sitcom-esque at times. The pace is fast as these two Gen Zs discuss some incredibly heavy subjects interspersed with humour to break the tension.
Kuelsen has created a show that is both incredibly uncomfortable at times and ridiculously funny. The balance of tragedy and comedy is a fine line to walk, but as the two friends riff in rapid-fire witty repartee, they manage to find the light in the dark.
The ending leaves you questioning the future of these characters, in a “Where do we go from here?” type of situation that you would love to see resolved. But perhaps that’s the point, even after they’ve packed up the campsite, cleared the stage and closed the curtains these characters live on in another universe, I guess that’s the magic of great storytelling.
The Butterfly Club
by Lydia Kuelsen
Director Jacqui Martin
Venue: The Butterfly Club | Carson Place Melbourne VIC
Dates: 27 – 29 April 2023
Tickets: $37 – $30