04 March 2012

Review: Summertime in the Garden of Eden

Summertime in the Garden of Eden
Sisters Grimm
23 February 2012
a shed in Thornbury
to 3 March
facey page



So, as we raved about the wonderfulness of The Wild Duck, the Sisters Grimm were busy in a Thornbury shed and now all I can say about the Duck is that it's OK, but it ain't no Summertime in the Garden of Eden.

Sisters Declan Greene and Ash Flanders are the sparkle and poppers for independent theatre. Joyously atrocious, their creations are so far from the good taste of nice middle class theatre that David Williamson would implode if he ever came to Sisters show.

Flanders isn't able to perform (who knew a Sisters show could survive without his ball acting), leaving Agent Cleave and Mummy Complex free to prove that a lady should always pair a tiny waist with body hair. They are joined by the perfectly cast Genevieve Giuffre, Peter Paltos and Mzz Erin Tasmania and award-winning playwright Declan proves his lighting design is as fine as his direction.

This Eden is a Thornbury shed – no euphamism; it's a corrugated iron shed in a Thornbury backyard complete with a VB promotional fridge, undies on the line, a hideous 70s chaise lounge, a deflated paddling pool and a couple of chooks (who I love as much as Duck's ducks). The atmosphere is so share-house uni party that I wondered why no one was handing me a bong made from a plastic lemonade bottle and was concerned that I'd worn a Laura Ashley dress with a suitable irony.

In a tale of slavery, secrets and sucking, the once-deep (now almost inner-city) north has been transported to a Gone With the Wind-ish deep south with hooped emerald dresses, bearded belles, breasted daddies, fisting, a homage to Buck Angel (don't Google if you're in an open office) and mammy dolls that have been banned from shops since the 80s.

They start with a liberating fuck-you attitude to gender, and grab every fear about political correctness to reveal the dull, hate and ignorance underlying any attitude that refers to "them" and claims "some of my best friends are ...".

To quote new-Melbourneite Amanda Fucking Palmer, "Stop pretending art is hard". The Sisters created this show in three weeks using what they found in a shed. That ain't hard. But art this good is smart, so smart that it hurts to watch.

The sisters are so loved that Summertime was nearly booked out before it opened, but there might be room. If you want to understand why I rant when theatre is dull: see the Sisters.

A version of this review appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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