Thursday, 18 March 2004

All's Well That Ends, Dir. Suzanne Kirsten, April 18, 2004

All's Well That Ends 
 Directed by Suzanne Kirsten
 March 18, 2004

 Well, Well, Well. All's Well That Ends - well, in total confusion really.

This production of Shakespeare's play, directed by Suzanne Kersten, incorporates eclectic styles, language, periods and music. The collision of styles can be compelling and entertaining in new theatre making. Each component enhancing or informing another. Or, it can just be a nasty muddle.

In this production the intersection of Shakespearian text with popular culture and language is incoherent and lacks cohesion. The play, All's Well That Ends Well, is almost irrelevant. The cast is an energetic and youthful group totally committed to the concept.

The narrative is roughly as follows: The rampant clubber,  Belinda  (Clair Korobacz ) is compelled by the disease-riddled Queen  (Deanne Eccles) to marry the despondent Herman. (Paul Moir) as a reward for Herman's curing the Queen's illness. A narrator, La Feu (Fleur Dean) provides information about characters and style.

The royal court is transformed into a raunchy club environment. The young women compete in "The Body Fest Competition" which is essentially an erotic dance competition in the style of live sex shows.

 Not every experiment in the rehearsal room should be included in the performance. There are long - too long - scenes of solo or group dancing that interrupt the flow of story and add nothing to the concept. Gender roles from the original text are swapped. The women are rough and sexist with their multiple sexual partners.

The links between scenes are clumsy with long gaps as we wait for performers to move over a rather noisy set of platforms to a new position.

Many of the contemporary references and images are cheap parodies. The Queen's Throne is a toilet. A giant, inflatable penis is a sex toy in the dancing.

The performers are awkward in the scenes from Shakespeare, having difficulty connecting truthfully to the Shakespearian language. They are all far more at home with the club land dancing. The entire piece is intended to sexualise Shakespeare but it is not in the slightest sexy. It is, rather, narcissistic, self-indulgent and poorly executed.

Perhaps they should leave the bard alone next time.

By Kate Herbert

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