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.
Friday, 6 May 2016
SHIT by Patricia Cornelius, May 4, 2016 ***1/2
THEATRE At fortyfivedownstairs,
until May 15, 2016
Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2 Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on Fri May 6, 2016 and in print earlier in this week. KH
Be warned! You
would not want to meet these women in a dark alley. Really!
three characters in Patricia Cornelius’ play, SHIT (all capitals, so shout the
title), are tough, mean, violent and damaged by their abusive pasts and limited
by their disappointment and rage at the world.
caustic, provocative and funny play captures the grim and gritty environment
inhabited by these marginalised and disenfranchised women.
a set that resembles an industrial grey, concrete bunker or prison (design,
Marg Horwell), Bobby (Sarah Ward), Billy (Nicci Wilks) and Sam (Peta Brady)
prowl and crouch like caged animals.
voice their resentment and frustration as they trawl through their topics of
choice: swearing, fighting, foster homes, sexual abuse, crying and not being
able to escape their dire circumstances.
these women are vile and offensive, the three passionate actors make us love
them a little and sympathise with them a lot.
dialogue is liberally peppered with expletives, vulgarity and barely repressed
violence that echoes the real world of these women as they struggle to make
sense of, or even survive their wretched lives.
is big, bold and bolshy as Bobby, the petite Wilks is feisty and shrill as Billy,
while Brady balances the trio as the warmer, more vulnerable character, Sam.
Susie Dee’s production maintains a cracking pace to match Cornelius’ searing,
rapid-fire dialogue and she intercuts the volatile, verbal scenes with
dialogue-free vignettes that employ a gestural language that is effective in
part but not always fully integrated or cohesive.
this physicality provides breathing space between the women’s relentlessly
angry interactions and also a visual representation of their audacious and
dangerous actions that take place behind the grey wall, almost out of view.
can laugh with these women but, ultimately, their story is poignant, tragic and
reminds us that many are left behind in our world of progress.