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Brisbane review - Cost of Living: a celebration of love

By Nahima Abraham


Written by Martyna Majok

Directed by Priscilla Jackman and Dan Daw

Presented by Queensland Theatre

Montague Road

West End

Duration: approximately 1 hour and 30 mins with no interval



It’s not often that audiences get to see a play that is both heart rendering and thoughtful, thought-provoking, and yet does its best to smash boundaries. Cost of Living is one of those plays that seems unassuming, yet asks the most important question of all – Does love have a bottom line?

We went into the Billie Brown Theatre unsure of what to expect, yet found a celebration of love. The playwright, Martyna Majok, a former carer and now a 2018 Pulitzer Prize recipient, has spun a tale centred around our intrinsic need to be cared for, and to care for others. In this six-degrees of separation story, we meet Eddie (Philip Quast), an unemployed truck driver between jobs, his ex-wife Ani (Kate Hood), who became a wheelchair user after an accident and a PhD student, John (Dan Daw), who lives with cerebral palsy, with his newly employed carer, Jess (Zoe de Plevitz). Eddie and Ani must navigate their newly re-formed relationship, and the highs and lows that accompany any tragic circumstance. In the aftermath of Ani’s accident, she is embittered, and pissed.

John’s story which gets woven through that of Ani’s also focusses on living with cerebral palsy and the consequences that come with hiring assistance independently. Jess and John find themselves thrust into misunderstandings and in those ultimate moments, tests for their new and awkward kinship. The set was deceptive, simple yet elegant. It was accessible for the actors, yet innovative enough to be transformed at will into the bathrooms, houses, apartments of these characters living in New York city

What was so powerful about Cost of Living was the tender nature with which these stories were told, and woven together. It was heartbreaking, yet full of heart. It was tremendous in its humour and in its tragedy. It followed these stories with an impartial, watchful air, and took the audience along for the ride. Despite the tender-hearted and humorous nature of Cost of Living this work does touch on heavy themes, and the fact there is a decompression zone at the Billie Brown Theatre is much appreciated. Cost of Living features full-frontal male nudity, strong language, herbal and e-cigarettes and haze, so would be recommended to those aged 15 and up. As the audience left their standing ovation on opening night, it was clear that so many people left feeling as one, that Cost of Living was a must see. Please don’t miss this spectacular play, you’ll thank us later.





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