"Human dilemmas in brilliant play"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 01/02/08

Counterfeit Skin at the Courtyard Theatre is a great story about love, pleasure, friendship, infidelity, fear of being alone and need of emotional safety. All these profoundly human feelings are brilliantly brought to the stage here, in this JC Theatre Production.

Jason Charles' script flows along the play completely involving the audience in its story and its characters: Jake, Luke, Leo, Mach Pip and Ralph.

Like a good book, not all characters are revealed in the beginning. Rather, they develop along with the play, surprising the audience with their true beings and characteristics. For instance, Mach, apparently is confident and joyful, always laughing, making fun and provoking the others. However, he later reveals himself to be extremely insecure and frightened. Jake, who in the beginning seems a bit shallow and selfish, might be a victim of his good looks. Leo appears like the father and good boss, while Luke is the passionate and well-behaved one. All of them want Jake to desire them, but none of them really loves him. In fact, it seems that they're only afraid of being alone. Coloured by their different perspectives: Leo from his young age, Luke from his alcoholism and Mach from his past.

The topics are intense but lightened up with some really comic moments such as Mach's great Madonna-performance.

The set changes, along with the lights, gives the play the intensity of real life when many things are happening at the same time. While Jake and Ralph, who is Jake's long time best mate, are at home chatting, something else is going on. Leo, Mach and Pip all work in the same office. This further links the characters with the audience, who follow their daily routine and know what is happening in their lives. In fact, the audience is so engaged that you even hear someone in their seats, whispering "Nooooo" at the stage at key dramatic points.

With all these elements combined: a great script, excellent actors, good direction and quality production, Counterfeit Skin has all the ingredients of a good play and achieves it! Don't miss it.

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