Red Stitch Actors Theatre Monument Sarah Sutherland and Julia Hanna photo by Jodie HutchinsonBack by popular demand, Monument returns to Red Stitch Actors’ theatre for a limited 2024 season! Written by the fabulous Emily Sheehan (Hell’s Canyon, Versions of Us), Monument follows the intimate encounter between political leader, Edith Aldridge (Sarah Sutherland) and make-up artist, Rosie (Julia Hanna).

Edith Aldridge has recently been elected as the youngest female prime minister in Australia. With only 90 minutes to prepare for her first press conference, her team arrange for quirky, 22-year-old Rosie, a beautician extraordinaire from the David Jones counter, to help her ‘slay’ the day.

What should have been an easy-breezy appointment for both parties involved, Edith and Rosie find themselves, at times, in uncharted territory.

Monument showcases the stark contrast between two females from different generations. Rosie and Edith clash in both status and life experiences. However, over the 90-minute hair and make-up appointment, Edith and Rosie reluctantly learn from each other, challenge, surprise and eventually find solidarity in the heavy moments.

The concept of Monument is genius. Sheehan’s writing is clever, relevant and filled with some dynamite one-liners. The dialogue is filled with comedic, colloquial jargon fit for a modern audience, that, for lack of a better word, slaps!-

Sutherland (Dirty Angels, Angry Boys) delivers a delicious slow burn as Edith Aldridge. Over the course of performance, she added layer upon layer of complexity to the character. Depth, insecurity, manipulation and passion continually developed and unfolded. These intricate layers were constantly bubbling under the surface from start to end.

Hanna (Beers and Trees, Loose Teeth) had a strong start opening the play as Rosie. She entered the space with a refreshing, ‘I’ve got this,’ energy. The connection between the two was effortless. There was a wonderful familiarity as they fed off each other’s energy, it was clear they had each other’s backs.

The performance I attended ran for 100 minutes in total. The pace was steady with some slight pauses throughout. As you are witnessing the hair and make-up process in its entirety from start to finish, the running time felt slightly too long.

A cue of lighting or sound design shifts to fast forward or spotlight different stages of the process would’ve really zapped some energy and focus into the work. Moments to pull the audience out and then snap them back in.

The choice to move the make-up chair to different angles of the stage did offer some reprieve, however, the performance would’ve benefited a 60 to 75-minute running time to avoid the, at times, repetitive tone.

Monument provides an entertaining snapshot of women in power, finding the heartfelt moments of solidarity and what it means to be your true authentic self.

Red Stitch Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda East
Performance: Friday 23 February 2024
Season continues to 10 March 2024
Information and Bookings:

Image: Sarah Sutherland and Julia Hanna in Monument – photo by Jodie Hutchinson

Review: Eleni Vettos