Sunday, 9 February 2014

More Female Parts, Feb 8, 2014 ***1/2

Written by Sara Hardy 
Based on characters from Dario Fo & Franca Rame's Female Parts  
Darebin Arts Speakeasy 2014 
Northcote Town Hall, until Feb 23, 2014 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars:  ***1/2
Review also published  in Herald Sun online on Mon Feb 10 and in print on Tues Feb 11. KH 
Evelyn Krape on stage in More Female Parts

It is a joy and a privilege to watch Evelyn Krape on stage in More Female Parts, performing updated, rebooted and aged versions of characters that she originally performed in the 80s.

Local playwright, Sara Hardy’s script delivers three, new monologues based on Female Parts written by Italian playwrights, Franca Rame and Dario Fo, in 1977.

Can’t Sleep, Can’t Sleep showcases Krape’s entertainingly idiosyncratic clown style as a rattled, 60-something grandmother who becomes increasingly frantic hunting for lost keys and preparing chaotically for a job interview after decades of unemployment.

This piece is based on Fo and Rame’s original monologue about a frenetic, young mum, but Hardy’s piece is a satirical, political biting commentary on the shrinking workplace for older Australians, the chauvinism of employers and their obsession with youth. Sigh!

The second piece, Penthouse Woman 2044, is comical but grimmer, as Krape portrays a woman incarcerated by her absent husband in her plush apartment where she communicates through a talking computer while her husband keeps her under 24 hour surveillance.

Krape’s intensity, combined with her brittle comedy, makes this a disturbing glimpse into the life and mind of a woman who is oppressed by not only her controlling husband, but her own fears.

The final work, Hip Op, based on Fo and Rame’s The Same Old Story, sees Krape as narrator of a fairy tale about a little girl who leaves her gingerbread house, her ordinary parents and awful big sister to make her mark in the Ivory Tower of academia and in the big corporate world.

This allegorical tale is another political statement, this time about women hitting the glass ceiling in the workplace, and Krape is hilarious playing the quirky characters, especially the girl’s wickedly scatological dolly who guides her on her journey.

Lois Ellis’s direction highlights Krape’s comic skills but the production could be more imaginatively staged and could tighten up the inordinately long scene changes between the first two stories.

Krape is a magnetic performer and a stalwart of Melbourne theatre who we see infrequently on stage these days. Directors, take heed.

By Kate Herbert

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