It’s one thing to be paralysed by choice during a Fringe Festival, but rather more inconvenient to be turned to stone, as were the men who met the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa in myths. In Monster / Woman, Sabrina D’Angelo and David McLaughlin delve into history to consider some of the seemingly contradictory versions of Medusa’s tale.
This theatrical work surveys perceptions of Medusa from the time of the Ancient Greeks up to the modern era. As Medusa, D’Angelo was able to travel through time to explore the very different records of her appearance and behaviour sequestered in her memory.
We learned of the “crime” that lead to her snakey burden, and what this said about the attitudes of western culture and Christianity at the time, and afterwards. In some of these scenes, D’Angelo demonstrated her gifts for physical comedy that first made her memorable in Melbourne Fringe and Comedy Festival performances some years ago.
Playing a range of supporting characters across the historical chapters, McLaughlin showed himself able capable in roles from camp assistant to a world-weary female character able to share Medusa’s frustration at not being the author of her own story.
Together, our performers would help us see Medusa in a range of ways, from the victim of a tragic birth, to the powerful woman of enduring legend. And, the set-up that allowed our protagonist to explore her alternative histories allowed some moments of off-beat humour.
Some aspects of legends were unnecessarily repeated early on, meaning that an exploration of modern takes on Medusa later in the piece felt a touch rushed. However, serious Fringe goers should take their lead from Perseus and embark on a quest to see the Monster / Woman in this last week of Melbourne Fringe 2019. Your reward will be the novelty on display in this story telling, and some surprises.
Monster / Woman
Quilt Room – Trades Hall, Corner Lygon & Victoria Streets, Carlton
Performance: Saturday 21 September 2019 – 7:30pm
Season continues to 29 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Monster / Woman – courtesy of Sabrina D’Angelo
Review: Jason Whyte