Friday, 28 October 2011

The Rock, Oct 27, 2011 **1/2

The Rock by Andrea Jenkins
By Kurunpa Live Arts with Black Duck Theatre Collective, Selected Works Season, Theatreworks
At Theatreworks, 14a Acland St., St. Kilda, Oct 27 until Nov 5, 2011
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert on October 27, 2011
Stars: ** 1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Oct 31, 2011 and on line at

THE ROCK is a new, Australian mythical story, a moral fable loosely based around the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain 30 years ago at Uluru.

It incorporates elements of indigenous dreamtime, Jungian archetypes, children’s stories, physicalised characters and movement-based theatre.

Uluru, The Rock, is an iconic image in the Australian landscape that resonates with both indigenous and white culture.

Under the gaze of The Rock (Uraine Mastrosavas) that is depicted as an aboriginal earth mother, The Mother (Maurial Spearim), an indigenous woman wearing rich, black, mourning clothes, prepares The Child (Emily Thomas), for her baptism, making her a pure white frock.

The Child (Emily Thomas), fair-skinned, blond and dressed in white, disappears one night when searching for her playmate, The Dingo (Gabrielle New).

Parts of this production are lyrical, imaginative and moving, particularly Thomas’s performance as the lost, fearful Child and grim scenes when Spearim is caged, accused of her daughter’s murder.

However, the dialogue is often florid and wordy, the animal-based character movement not fully incorporated and the style and direction (Andrea Jenkins) are better suited to a children’s show – although the language and concepts would be over their heads.

The production is performed in the round with audience looking into a space that captures the soft ochres, scattered stones and eerie quality of Uluru.

 Stars **1/2

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