It’s been two decades since John Gray published his world-renowned book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and now, finally, we may have proof of the book’s accuracy. August the first of this year saw NASA land the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, and we wait with baited breath for the first men to be discovered on the red planet. Presumably they will be doing manly things, such as watching sport, not succeeding at multitasking and concurrently suffocating in the CO2-laden atmosphere.
This year, the Edinburgh Fringe sees a new stage adaptation of Gray’s book. Landing somewhere between seminar and skit, the piece explores the tribulations of understanding the opposite sex, with some handy hints along the way.
The piece is the second version to hit stages in recent years, having been translated from a successful French adaptation. Working closely withPaul Dewandre, the original writer, Huntrods adjusted the script for an English audience. Some surprising alterations were undertaken to make the piece Anglo-appropriate, including amendments to the French piece’s explicit finale.’The French find things funny that British people don’t', says Huntrods. ‘Some Gallic humour gets lost in the channel and drowned. We’ve adapted the play as well as translated it to make it fit with British families. This involved a lot of help from Ian – who has twenty years of marriage experience under his belt!’
The piece does take into account changes in the way current audiences think about male and female relationships, says Ian. ‘Judging by the reaction of the audiences – there’s a lot of nudging going on – you can tell that what you’re talking about is still modern. It helps that we’ve not written a verbatim version – we decided to hit it with a modern feel right from the start of the writing process, so it’s not like we’ve done a straight adaptation of a book that’s out of date.’ Contrasting not just genders but the overarching masculine and feminine personas, there’s no doubt that they’re bringing a modern spin to this popular tome of the sexes.
So if you’re feeling astrologically distant from your loved one, perhaps some planetary dislocation, then Men are from Mars may be your ideal destination.
Men are from Mars Woman are from Venus, Underbelly. 1-27 August, 3.30pm.