Satire can be a tricky business. Misjudge your aim and it comes off as too malicious, misjudge your audience and you've got a room full of bewildered people trying to channel their discomfort into nervous laughter. MTC's newest production, The Beast looks set to strike the perfect tone for each.
The show, Eddie Perfect's debut as sole writer, is a black comedy about a group of middle-class, inner-city friends in their mid-thirties. After circumstances arise leading them to adopt a simple country life, they are forced to reconsider their much-lauded earthly values as they are faced with the difficult job of slaughtering a young cow. These are people Melbourne audiences are ready to laugh at. The kind of shiraz-suckling, clean living, organic so and sos that spend endless dinner parties berating people for not considering the environmental consequences of their supermarket purchases, while hiding the fact they have several gas-guzzling SUVs parked in the double garage. Perfect claimed the idea for the show came to him from his time spent in the Yarra Valley. Go figure.
It's not all laughs at their expense, however. After the conflict with the cow, Perfect's characters are left a little morally stranded — the repercussions of their actions, or inactions reaping grave consequences on their future ethics and social personas. Like all good satire, The Beast presents a crucial moral core for its audience too — in this modern age, how can we reconcile our imagined social activism with our real world actions?