Miranda Middleton and Ziggy Resnick weave a heavily cliched story about siblings and the complexities of the changing dynamics around the overly trodden whimsy of Alice in Wonderland – unfortunately delivering more misses than hits.
While the script incorporates insightful dialogue through Jewish heritage and the rabbit holes that we find ourselves trapped in, the relationships between the characters soon turn nasty and extremely unsympathetic. This might have been intentional but the resulting text lacks any kind of light and shade, instead remaining one note throughout.
Miranda Middleton’s direction keeps the story moving with a series of obvious Alice inspired troupes – small doors, tea parties, the disjointed Cheshire Cat puppet – everything to remind the audience of the parallel stories, that sadly do not mesh well.
Middleton seems at odds with the performance space, moving the performers from one scene to the next with a clumsy manner that creates clunky change of scenes and execution of action on stage.
Ziggy Resnick and Luisa Scrofani bring commendable performances to the work, given the material they are working with. Scrofani portrays a great number of supporting characters with a talent that is both exciting and nuanced. Resnick’s performance is admirable as they seem at odds with their own text.
Aron Murray’s exciting projections and lighting states blend seamlessly with Oliver Beard’s sound to give the production the fanciful sense of play that the script often is devoid of.
Pear-Shaped is not without a lot of promise and heart, and with further time and development, this work is sure to achieve all that the creatives hoped for it.
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Performance: Thursday 6 April 2023
Season continues to 15 April 2023
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Luisa Scrofani and Ziggy Resnick feature in Pear-Shaped – photo by Angel Leggas
Review: Gavin Roach