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, 6 August 2013
The Bloody Chamber, Aug 6, 2013 ***1/2
By Angela Carter, performance text by Van Badham Malthouse Theatre, until Aug 10, 2013 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Aug 6 Stars: ***1/2 Review also published in Herald Sun online on Wed Aug, 7, 2013 and then in print. KH
The most captivating
element in The Bloody Chamber is the intoxicating voice of Alison Whyte as she
tells the grim tale of Bluebeard and his murdered wives.
Clad in a simple, black
gown and amplified by a microphone, Whyte speaks evocative prose extracted from
Angela Carter’s short story of the same name.
Speaking in the first
person as she prowls the sparse, grey, dimly lit stage, Whyte narrates the
haunting tale of a young, French girl who marries a wealthy aristocrat who she
soon discovers to be a manipulative sadist.
Whyte’s performance is
assured and accomplished as she shifts vocally between the mature woman
relating her story in the past tense, the girl in the present, and the ominous
tones of her vile husband.
forbidding design of enormous, black, prison-like black boxes and Paul
Jackson’s murky, atmospheric lighting provide a bleak background for the
With Matthew Lutton’s
direction, Whyte finds an emotional and dynamic range in the prose, shifting
from menace to melancholy or terror, even finding more playful moments in the
manipulation of Whyte’s amplified voice cunningly creates the illusion of a
burly, dangerous man looming over the young girl.
Three on-stage musicians
(Jacinta Dennett, Jessica Fotinos, Yinuo Mu) provide tinkling, fairy tale music
(composed by David Chisholm) that counterpoints a portentous, electronic
soundscape (Jethro Woodward).
exceptional, nuanced and detailed performance, the production loses impact on
when silent stage managers enter the space, but even more intrusive is the
introduction of an second, speaking actor (Shelly Lauman) as the blind piano
Unfortunately, the spell
is broken when we hear this other voice that shatters the sense of foreboding
and does not match Whyte’s beautifully inflected tones.
However, what is
indelibly etched on one’s memory is the image of the vulnerable Whyte pacing
her dank, grey prison as she tells her compelling story.
By Kate Herbert
Alison Whyte, pic by Jeff Busby
by Matthew Lutton
by David Chisholm
preformed by Jess Fotinos, Yinuo Mu & Jacinta Dennett