Performance collective I’m Trying To Kiss You has garnered a reputation for hard-hitting work that explores the complexities of the contemporary female experience. Their latest offering Madonna Arms presented as part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival had the potential to continue this trend – sadly it disappoints on a number of levels.
On paper, Madonna Arms sounds promising “In a world where women have been idealised into powerlessness, one woman will fight to become the sexiest warrior of all time…” What we got as best was a feminist sci-fi comedy sketch show, that was poorly structured, poorly written, that lacked any sense of dramaturgical process.
There was so much potential to explore the female form and challenges facing young women today. Where was the subversiveness and cutting-edge narratives, that we have seen previously in the likes of Penny Arcade at an international level, or locally Maude Davey?
All we got was immature humour that bordered on patriarchal clichés and reverse misogyny. If this is considered a ‘new grand narrative’, maybe we should just pack up and go home?
On a positive note, the visual look of the show was quite good with some striking visual elements by designers Romanie Harper (set, costumes & video) and Andre Vanderwert (video). The use of ‘green screen’ technology gives the production its distinctive edge. Katie Sfetkidis’ lighting was well placed and complimented the design intention.
Next Wave is about exploring theatrical forms and in point this year, a ‘new grand narrative’. One must question the processes that took place in the development of this work, as the outcomes were overly poor and made for an extremely disappointing evening in the theatre.
Director: Allison Wiltshire Performers: Zoey Dawson, Anna McCarthy, Ella Harvey Writers: Zoey Dawson, Anna McCarthy & Allison Wiltshire Sound and Composition: Claudio Tocco Set and Costume: Romanie Harper Lighting: Katie Sfetkidis Video: Romanie Harper, Andre Vanderwert Stage Manager: Ainsley Kerr Assistant Stage Managers: Leticia Brennan-Steers, Debbie Yew Sound Operator: Millie Levakis-Lucas Lighting Operator: Adrien Black Additional vocals: Marrianne Pierce Producer: Bek Berger
Meat Market – Arts House, 5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 4 May 2014 – 8.00pm
Season continues to 11 May 2014
Image: by Theresa Harrison