Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Cinderella Sux by Duck’s Guts, Oct 2, 2007

Cinderella Sux by Duck’s Guts
North Melbourne Town Hall,  Oct 2 to 13, 2007

Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 2, 2007

There is no way around it: Cinderella Sux is the weirdest Fringe show I have seen this year  – and strangely compelling. An entire family is on stage for this very short series of sketches about family life, love and the non-fairytale life they live in the suburbs.

While Mum attempts to relate her romantic tale of the princess and the knight who rescues her from her tawdry existence, the kids interrupt from the audience with cynical comments as if they were in the lounge room. Mum wears a tacky tiara on her short, bleached hair and a lacy retro petticoat as her royal gown. Her face is white with bright red cheeks and Liza Minelli fake lashes. She strums a ukulele and strikes ridiculously arch poses.

Meanwhile, the teenage girl pouts fetchingly, decked in a madly mediaeval costume constructed from colourful washing. In the audience, the younger girl prompts mum when her lines falter in real or artificial memory lapses.

Mum’s fantasy will not achieve its romantic goal unhindered. The boys call out smart comments, toss around the footy and generally get up Mum’s nose. It is a riot – like watching a family through a window at dinnertime.

Mum’s view of parenting is genuinely funny. Her version of control uses is bribery, trickery and restraint. She bribes the youngest boy with a trail of lollies, tricks him into a cupboard and ties him up with rope. These opening scenes are the strongest and funniest.

Dad appears from the front row with his clipboard in hand.  “I’m Dad,” he says. “My name is Dad.” He provides us with ten reasons to stay in a long-term relationship including, “the devil you know” and “keeping up appearances”. Dad’s style is laconic and natural, unlike Mum’s more theatrical and decorative persona.

 He engages us in his musings on love, life and how he met his “mate”. He moves us with his memories of their meeting, early marriage, the five children and 20-year partnership and expresses his love for his mate with great honesty and directness.

What fun they had making a show with the entire family.

By Kate Herbert

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