13 August 2015

The Container Festival: Bedtime Stories for Girls, Blessed and The Wiggle

The Container Festival
31 July to 15 August
Monash University, Clayton Campus

Guest blogger Chris Edwards

The Container Festival

 I’ve seen some damn good theatre lately.

MUST’s Container Festival been in full swing for just over a week and I’ve been spending a lot of time in tiny performance spaces forgetting about the cold thanks to the excellent art in front of me. So much time, in fact, that finding the time to write up my thoughts on these shows has been difficult, to say the least.

But, without further ado, here are some of the best shows that I’ve been lucky enough to get to, and with two nights of performances left, do try and get out to Clayton to see what all of the artists have on offer.

Bedtime Stories for Girls
By Genevieve Atkins
Directed by Jessica McLaughlin Cafferty

Possibly my favourite show of the festival, this is a shockingly honest and brutal deconstruction of the hierarchies and cruelties of young female relationships – and it’s also terrifyingly hilarious. The writing is the hero here, as Atkins’s biting wit and sharp satire brings to mind Amy Schumer or a David Mamet who’s more-feminist and less-douchebag, and sustains what might have just been a sketch-length concept to half an hour without showing any signs of strain.

Bedtime Stories for Girls

The direction and performances are just as striking, with Imogen Walsh and Hayley Foster particularly standing out as the bitchiest of the four girls, though all four (including Aislinn Murray and Emily Stokes) have excellent chemistry and comic timing. This is an angry shout of a play, viciously attacking the way in which this society teaches young women to fear their own bodies and hate each other. Go see it, and definitely watch out for whatever this team makes next.

A play reading
By Fleur Kilpatrick
Directed by Danny Delahunty

If you’ve read my previous post then you’ve already heard me wax rhapsodic about Fleur Kilpatrick’s writing, so I’ll try to keep this brief:  I loved it. In a pared back reading, with just performers Olivia Monticcuolo and Kevin Kiernan-Molloy onstage, the beauty of Kilpatrick’s words shone through. The poetry of her dialogue, the simplicity and skill of the performers, and her ability to hone in on the specificity of a character through how comfortable they are or aren’t with their own poetry, make the script a pleasure to experience.

Plus there’s something particularly impressive in the fact that Kilpatrick has written a play that is both about religion and full of a potent rage, but not one that’s directed at that religion. To say anymore would be to delve into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that this rage is more directed at a society in which the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing bigger and bigger and nobody seems to care anymore. I will definitely be seeing whatever full production this text receives at the beginning of next year.

The Wiggle: A One Man Tribute to the Best Band of the Nineties
Created and performed by Jordan Broadway

This show is just pure fun. Jordan Broadway embodies everyone’s favourite group of colour-coded children’s entertainers in a 25-minute nostalgia-based contact high. I sat in an audience of 40-plus adults who all sang and danced along as Broadway’s crystal clear voice perfectly covered such classics as "Hot Potato" and "Big Red Car". 

If you don't have a particular connection to The Wiggles, then this may not be the show for you, but if you do, prepare to feel like a little kid again. I don't think I've purely enjoyed any other show from this year's festival quite as much as I did this one, and that's saying something.

I'll be posting more reviews over the next few days, but do make sure you make the trek out to Clayton tonight and tomorrow night for the last two nights of regular performances before Saturday's Closing Night Gala. There have been some truly great shows this year, and I'm looking forward to telling you about some more of them!

SM: I'm back in Melbourne and heading out on Friday.

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