Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Stories I want to tell you in person, Aug 13, 2013 **1/2
Written & performed by Lally Katz, Malthouse
Theatre, Malthouse, Aug 13 to 25, 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 13, 2013
also published in Herald Sun online on Wed Aug 14, 2013 and later in print. KH
You may think Lally
Katz’s solo performance, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person, is
self-indulgent claptrap, or self-referential confessional theatre, or even
stand-up comedy in the wrong venue.
Katz is not only the
writer of this performance, but also the performer and the subject, and she
regales the audience with tales of her life, playwriting, love and her
obsessive visits to psychics.
In almost all Katz’s
plays (apart from The Golem Story), she is on stage as a voice, or narrator, or
just referred to by name.
She admits on stage that
she is not an actor, and her limited acting skill shows in her awkward delivery
and the lack of dynamic range in her narration, her damaged voice and some
clumsy segues between stories.
awful karaoke singing of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina is truly frightening –albeit funny – but leaving an audience to
“talk among yourselves” while she changes costumes is just lazy and annoying.
The performance, directed
by Anne-Louise Sarks, is 30 minutes too long, but Katz channels three very
funny people during her stories about plundering her personal life for
characters for her plays.
She inhabits Anna, a
feisty, rude, elderly Hungarian woman who accosts Katz on the street one day
and becomes Katz’s friend and prime resource for a character.
Cookie, the brassy, New
York psychic/charlatan, is a riot as she manipulates Katz into paying an arm
and a leg for a psychic reading and the removal of an ancient curse.
Enter a second sham
psychic called Bella: shabby, unhealthy, cynical and just as shady and grabby
Katz admits using her own
life – rather than intensive research – as the foundation for her plays, but
her most successful play, The Golem Story, was well researched and did not even
mention Katz herself.
What is illuminating and
alarming here is Katz’s revelations about the manner in which her new work is
commissioned and executed by major theatre companies.
It seems that Katz’s
friends will love this confessional memoir performance, but perhaps it is
unlikely to have broad appeal.