The Melbourne Monologues was a selection of six monologues presented by Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. The first piece, To Understand, had an intriguing premise: What if Ted Bundy gave a TED talk about living for the moment? Katie Lee’s script constantly poked the audience (“Do you want me to tell you?”/ “Do you really think you can handle the truth?”), driving the speech forward.
Ruth Katerelos did well with the material, relishing the visceral descriptions. Admittedly, some of the delivery got too belligerent in places. A little more charm would have lent her character the faux charisma of a huckster, helping to give the ending more weight than it merely being a punchline.
No Feet, was great little number about someone having more than a few issues with where they believe their feet ought to be. Carmen Saarelaht’s text had a strong, coherent voice, brought out in amusing fashion by Alec Gilbert. Perched high on wooden crutches, Alec was both playful and ornery, with some delightful little nuances throughout.
Adèle Shelley’s Girls’ School Delights was an ambitious four-in-one hander with Cosima Gilbert playing four pupils interacting with each other and their teacher. Cosima did excellent work presenting four distinct characters in tone and body. While the piece struggled a little at the end (the overall point of it felt elusive), it confirmed there are few difficulties that can’t be solved by dancing in frenetic bliss off stage.
Joining Cosima in fun, dancing segue was Jack McGorlick, made all the more so when the enthusiastic physicality fell away before delivering Garry, written by Bruce Shearer. The text was brilliant in places – the repeated, ever-increasing detail of why Tuesday is the worst day of the week was hilarious – Jack’s performance the perfect combination of a lament and just not giving a s***.
Karissa Taylor gave an enjoyable performance in The Bystander is the Gatekeeper, written by Anita Sanders. This was a curious piece, a short cybercrime story whose language weaved between cumbersome technobabble and emotional turmoil. A lovely quality to Karissa’s performance was how she transformed some of the complicated phrases to something quite melodious, almost like poetry. A nice touch was Lighting Designer, Adelaide Harney, dropping the lights to taking advantage of the cool unsettling glow from the laptop.
The programme concluded with Fairy Dust, by Louise Baxter. The idea of grief is of something volatile, but those of us who know it intimately also know how pragmatic it can be. Louise’s character is clearly grieving, but she’s also aware there are duties that must be attended, that travelling through grief can be like following a grim itinerary of sorts. Celia Handscombe’s performance was wonderful. Stripping away all overt theatricality, Celia just stood and spoke to the audience in a sparse manner that was utterly compelling.
All these fine pieces affirm the local arts scene is in splendid hands!
The Melbourne Monologues
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Performance: Tuesday 17 October 2017 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 22 October 2017
For more information, visit: www.melbournewriterstheatre.org.au for details.
Image: Jack McGorlick in Garry (supplied)
Review: David Collins