Wednesday, 23 January 2002
Shush by Dolly Adamson, Jan 23, 2002
By Dolly Adamson
La Mama, Carlton Courthouse until February 9, 2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 23, 2002
Coming out as a lesbian to the family is difficult enough. Add to this being an incest victim of one's grandfather and you have a familial molotov cocktail. Such is the content of Shush, written by Dolly Adamson. The play is part of the Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival program.
The topic is not new in theatre and is a highly emotive and socially relevant area. The play has scenes that effectively reflect the lifestyle of the gay club scene, the shared house and awkward family relationships.
The lesbian relationship between Alex (Delene Butland) and Holly (Jaqcui Tamlyn) highlights their raging fights, drug-taking.
This is a patchy production with a script that needs some serious editing. The narrative follows a plausible path but the dialogue is repetitive and the story predictable. Characters are stereotypes and their relationships shallow.
The play is a drama. However, there is a peculiar and inappropriate addition of the drag queen, Barb Wire, (Barry Soloman) who introduces the play and enters the final club scene.
Other quirky but unnecessary characters include Trevor, (Tamlyn) a dysfunctional stalker who writes hilariously bad love poetry and Sylvia, another drag queen (Robert Kelty) who runs the club.
All three of three of these would make a fine cabaret comedy show but interfere with the style and narrative in Shush.
There are some credible and moving moments from John Flaus playing the grandfather. He is warm, loving and finally enraged at his granddaughter's clearly accurate accusations.
Butland warms to the role after some initial awkwardness and Tamlyn is strong as her roughhouse girlfriend, Holly.
The character of Judy, Alex's mother, (Libby Stone) is written as a one-note, whining critical matriarch that makes it difficult for Stone to make much of the role.
Tamara Kuldin as Alex's sister, Michelle, whimpers and leaps about like a child which makes it difficult to believe she is about to marry.
Director Susan Pilbeam has found some truth in this piece but it lacks polish and needs a huge cut on the script.
By Kate Herbert