The Fringe theatre performance A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone revolves trying to not make the same mistakes your parents did as you grow up. Set in the suburbs, eight-year-old boy Jess becomes friends with Billy, and over the next 20 years they grow up in a society where boys are expected to be boys and girls are meant to do all the crying for them.
Actors Britt Lewis and Julian Dibley-Hall, starring as the only two characters, Billy and Jess, captured me as soon as they opened their mouths. Their impersonations of two kids playing in a sandpit were spot on, and the child-like comedy was gold. From here on, as they started to grow up and develop into the people they tried not to be (their parents), the tone slowly depreciated, and then became monotone all together. The scenes got darker and the comedy was lost while the characters explored what it truly meant to be a man, a woman, and a parent.
Throughout the rest of the play I had a hopeful sense that they would find out what it was like to be happy, as that was what they were searching for the whole time. However the development was tragic, and I didn’t quite know how to feel in the end. I felt sad for Billy and Jess – they were trapped in the way they were told to love themselves and each other, which is something everyone feels at some point. But I was also left confused about the message that should be taken away – was it supposed to make me question my own development as I’ve grown up, or the society we live in?
A mixed response in my personal opinion, but the show combines an incredible team of actors with Brendan McDougall’s script writing. A good one if you’re feeling thoughtful and want to challenge your own perceptions of what society is supposed to be.
★★ 2.5/5 stars
A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone is playing in Holden Street Theatres until the 4th of March. Tickets available online or at The Fringe Box Office.