11 August 2011

Review: Special

La Mama and The Rabble
7 August 2011
La Mama Courthouse
to 21 August

The Rabble explore the aesthetics of theatre with a focus on process and theme. Their shows are not easy to read stories and their style could leave you engrossed or cold and mumbling about missing Masterchef for this.

In a mould-green world surrounded by crepe streamers the colour of toilet paper, Goldie rides her exercise bike while Special lies on a hill of soil wearing a stretchy hot pink dress and a North American Indian head dress. And it gets stranger.

From a concept by director Emma Valente and Mary Helen Sassman, Special is ostensively about mothers and daughters. Goldie (Liz Jones – who it's always wonderful to see on the stage rather than the office) isn't thrilled that her daughter, Special (Sassman), is pregnant (as is Sassman).  Special's not too thrilled with Goldie either, but has some more important issues to face before her special day, if Goldie doesn't demand all the attention.

There's little story to follow, rather it's a disturbingly funny peek into the warped emotions and unconscious drivers of the pair. With its lack of logic, distorted aesthetics and was-Freud-really-right moments of parental resent, it's like watching a dream. And, like waking,  you leave with the your conscious memory trying to put pieces together that will never fit.

I admit that I had moments when I had no idea what was going on or what it all meant, but it was beautiful and fascinating and I'm so glad that we have a theatre culture that lets this kind of art flourish.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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