Thursday, 10 November 2011

Return to Earth by Lally Katz, MTC, Nov 9, 2011 **1/2

 Return To Earth 
Written by Lally Katz
Melbourne Theatre Company
Fairfax Studio, Victorian Arts Centre, until December 17, 2011
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert, November 9, 2011
Stars: **&1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Nov 11, 2011
 Eloise Mignon & Julie Forsyth, Return to Earth. Photo: Jeff Busby

Return to Earth by Lally Katz is an insubstantial play that straddles the border between reality and fantasy.

After an inexplicable absence in outer space, Alice (Eloise Mignon), a woman-child, returns to her family home with a different name (she used to be Erica) and altered behaviour (she now chews her food).

Alice-Erica does not live in the real world and behaves like an incompetent child having trouble with ordinary processes such as separating dream from reality, understanding grief or approaching a potential lover.

Aidan Fennessy’s direction, sleek and evocative set and lighting design (Claude Marcos, Lisa Mibus) and some fine comic performances boost this production, despite the flimsiness and confused style of the script.

Katz provides some funny Australianisms in her dialogue, amusing observations of the minutiae of daily life and some entertaining, absurd characters, but her metaphor of returning to earth and reality is predictable and over-worked.

Mignon’s as Alice is initially charming but her childlike, high-pitched vocal quality becomes repetitive.

Kim Gyngell and Julie Forsyth bring impeccable comic skill and quirky characterisations to Alice’s parents and Anthony Ahern is cool and laconic as blokey mechanic, Theo.

Tim Ross has warmth as Tom, Alice’s brother, and as Catta, his ailing child, Allegra Annetta was charming.

Unfortunately, this self-referential script bears the marks of being an early play that was reworked and
fails to illuminate its big issues.

 Stars: **&1/2

Director: Aidan Fennessy
Cast: Kim Gyngell, Julie Forsyth, Eloise Mignon, Anthony Ahern, Tim Ross, Anne-Louise Sarks
Set & Costume: Claude Marcos
Lighting: Lisa Mibus
Composer/Sound Designer: Kelly Ryall

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