17 November 2010

Review: Mag and Bag

Mag and Bag
La Mama
7 November 2010
La Mama Courthouse


Mag and Bag live in a suburb that's still so working class that the tins are home brand, the Herald Scum St Mary poster has pride of place on the bar fridge and being called a Liberal is far worse than be called a cunt.

Barry Dickens wrote Mag and Bag in the late 70s and, even with some hip Latham and Abbot jokes, it's comforting to to see that little changes. There still nothing as good as cup of tea, curlers still create the best hair dos and bloody nature strips always have to be mowed. And I for one am looking forward to being a nutty old lady whose language will make the neighbours blush.

In a gorgeously designed house of chicken wire and op shop paintings, are two old women who have no one left to fight with. Like grotesque panto dames, they bicker, fight and abuse each other with a verbal dexterity only outweighed by their love. If it's true that we can really only be total cows to the people who love us, then Mag and Bag are BFFs... or they they believe that fighting is better than being old and forgotten. It's easy to laugh at swearing old ladies, but Camelina Di Gulglielmo and Maria Portsi let us see the regret behind the laughs.

Director Laurence Strangio (who directed Jackie Smith's The Flood last year) again captures the playwright's voice with an authenticity that lets us see the characters with the love Dickens had creating these two old horrors. So even if we might not want them as neighbours, watching them is a laugh-out-loud joy.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com.

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