Manual Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman is a provocative tale of love, victimisation and fantasy set against the background and turmoil of a military dictatorship in the 1970’s,
Luis Molina is a homosexual window dresser incarcerated in a South American jail on a trumped up charge for corruption of a minor. His cellmate, Valentin Arregui is a political activist associated with a revolutionary group trying to overthrow the government.
From the outset the two couldn’t be more unalike, but together they find a common bond against their oppressors, realising they are more alike than they originally thought, leading into an act of unwitting betrayal.
The close confines of Richmond’s The Owl and the Pussycat offers the audience to experience at close hand the confronting beauty the themes this play explores through Chris Baldock’s thoughtful direction that allows his 2 actors Angela De Cata as Molina and Adam Ward as Valentin to deliver strong performances.
Prison life can be brutal and Ward is convincing, bringing a hard emotional edge to the role. De Cata’s portrayal of Molina is a joy to watch, especially during the fantastical world of the films he’s retelling. This provides the play with a number of lighter moments, offering a form of escape from the reality of their environment and for the audience alike.
The design by Chris Baldock and Merinda Backway is simply effective utilising the bare brickwork of the venue complimented by a spider web like net to outline the performance space. 2 beds dictate the persona of each character separated by a rusted old stove which has seen better days.
Douglas Montgomery’s lighting enhances the action moving effortlessly between the bright starkness of reality and the kaleidoscope of colour during Molina’s story telling.
Mockingbird Theatre Company’s Kiss of the Spider Woman deserves critical praise for providing Melbourne’s theatrical landscape with a high quality independent production, that is a must see for true lovers of theatre.
Kiss of the Spider Woman
The Owl And The Pussy Cat – 34 Swan Street, Richmond
Performance: Friday 6 September 2013 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 15 September 2013
For more information, visit: www.mockingbirdtheatre.com.au for details.
Review: Rohan Shearn Image: Angelo De Cata and Adam Ward by Chris Baldock