Theatre Review: Jane and Kel go to Hell is a hilarious Dante’s Inferno for the avo-on-toast generation (to April 7th at Metro Arts, Brisbane)

After Jane spectacularly quits her awful job, she and housemate Kel decide it’s time to rent out the sunroom. Roy seems to be the perfect candidate. He’s quiet and he cooks and he’s not looking to impose on the girls’ karaoke nights any time soon. But Kel isn’t so sure and she’s ready to put her friendship with Jane on the line to prove it. There’s something not quite right about him, something almost… inhuman. After all, there’s only so many times a guy can listen to Toto’s Africa before it seems weird, right?

From Brisbane writer Steve Pirie, Jane and Kel go to Hell is a blend of Broad City-esque comedy with some serious Stranger Things vibes. Presented by Share House Theatre Company, the production is headed up by Kayla Alexander (Jane) and Emma Black (Kel), with Daniel Simpson as a scene stealing Roy. Lara Rix and Ben Warren round out the small cast, playing a variety of roles that get some of the biggest laughs of the night.

And speaking of laughs, Jane and Kel go to Hell is really bloody funny. It’s perfectly in tune with those Millenials in the late 20s/early 30s bracket who haven’t quite got their shit together yet – the language the women use, the fears they have, the awkward line between being an adult and just pretending to be, it’s all here and it’s wildly relateable. Every character, heightened as they are, feels like you or someone you know (whether or not they turn out to be an actual demon) and it’s quite reassuring to know that someone else is messing up and is as terrified of life as you are. Even if it does, y’know, land them in Hell.

The message of the production does seem to get a little lost towards the end, with the good and bad influences over Jane’s life and her decisions blurring a little. Is Jane to blame for what has happened to her or is it really her toxic friendship with Kel? Is that friendship all that toxic at all? And is Roy such a dangerous part of Jane’s life? But for a play with a little over an hour running time, it’s understandable that these things don’t get fully explored, and when you’re having so much fun (particularly for a journey to the depths of Hell), who really minds?

Jane and Kel go to Hell is a brief Dante’s Inferno for the avo-on-toast, never-gonna-own-a-home generation. An exploration of friendship, mental health, and hating your job in your late 20s, it’s a relatable and hilarious mix of sentiment and horror.

Showing at Brisbane’s Metro Arts until April 7th, tickets are available here.

The author attended the performance on April 5th.


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