22 January 2019

MIDSUMMA: Truly Madly Britney

Truly Madly Britney
Theatre Works and Stage Mom
20 January 2019
Theatre Works
to 9 February

Truly Madly Britney. Photo by Lachlan Woods

Pop icon obsession is dismissed as much as it is understood. Can anyone really say that there isn't at a pop star that will be your bff as soon as you find a way to meet? Truly Madly Britney dives hilariously into the frustration and pain under the glittery joy of knowing too much about your icons and the chorey to every video.

Adam (Adam Garner) loves Steve (Nick Clark) so much that he's happy to max their credit cards to go on a pilgrimage to LA to pay homage to Britney Spears circa 2007 – the year the Mousketeer-cum-teen-superstar-cum-queer-guiding-light-goddess is remembered by photos of her shaved head –  that culminates with meet-and-greet tix for her Vegas show. Or LIVING THE DREAM for a boy, who was once in teen pop band, in love with a boy, who works in retail at the biggest shopping mall in the southern hemisphere.

Of course following the dream of a breakdown is never going to go smoothly, especially as they meet fellow Britney fans. There's airbnb host Chad (Alex Threw) who isn't at all gay, and Judy (Louisa Wall) who has backstage passes for her and her terminally-ill son Kevin (Karl Richmond). And Chanella Marci is everyone else, starting as a Savage Garden fan; all Australian boy couples look like Savage Garden.

Writer Alberto Di Troia began developing the script when he was studying at VCA and met director Hannah Fallowfield. They bonded over Britney and it's since had a reading at the MTC Cybec series and been welcomed by Theatre Works for Midsumma.

It's so wonderful to see Theatre Works's Midsumma season mixing international shows with new writing, emerging creatives and a cast who are on their individual ways to becoming favourites. Without this kind of support, shows like this don't get the chance to develop and new voices aren't heard. Truly Madly Britney will develop further, but don't wait for the next season.

Like a pop star having a really shit year, extreme is the only way to go. And they do. Although it's a bit uneven, director Fallowfield finds a lovingly outrageous tone that's backed up with close harmonies of camp, consent, and finding comfort in knowing that you're not the only one going through hell. Designer Bethany J Fellows creates a Vegas mood with a single light-globe budget and adds layers of meaning by being anti-Vegas and showing all the stagecraft secrets. And it all works towards a climax so magnificently wrong that anything less would be offensive.

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