31 January 2014

MIDSUMMA: Two Short Plays

Two Short Plays
Ladymullet Productions
23 January 2014
Brunswick Arts Space
to 25 January

Melbourne writers Belinda Bannerman and Kathryn Goldie recently formed Ladymullet Productions and for their Midsumma debut, each wrote a short play. Their three-night season of Two Short Plays sold out, but there's talk of a Fringe season, which would be terrific because both deserve to be seen by many more people than could squeeze into the Brunswick Arts Space on those very hot summer nights

The L Wing, by Bannerman, is set in a not-too-distant-future lesbian retirement home where 60-something resident Sal (Kim Givens) meets new resident Andrea (Natasha Broadstock) and recognises her as her long-lost love Andi, even if Andrea doesn't remember Sal – yet.

With heart-felt performances by the cast (also Jane Menz and Hannah Smallman), it's a rom com that pushes all the right buttons of love and hope, but has enough darkness in the comedy to keep it grounded and to ask if honesty is best if deception keeps everyone happy.

Love Triangle, 1919, by Goldie, starts as a simple love story between governess Flora (Stephania Pountney) and stablehand Edward (Hayley Lawson-Smith), but Flora's once-potential boyfriend, Joe (Tom Carmody) returns from the war and threatens to reveal the secret that Joe trusts will tear the lovers apart. It's no secret to the audience that Edward is a woman, but the story's tension and hope lie in not knowing how Flora will react if and when she finds out or how far Edward will go to keep the secret.

Goldie's writing lets all three tell their version of the story, and, by placing the audience throughout the space, Christine Husband's direction lets the jumps in time and space feel natural and intimate as the three move among and speak to the assembled crowd. This is writing that lets its performance space enhance the telling and, by doing so, lets the audience get closer to the hearts of the characters.

Ladymullet Productions say that they want to make great theatre and film, and what's going to get them there is continuing to tell the stories that they want to tell.

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