S.S. Metaphor

Malthouse-SSMetaphor-Will-Conyers-Ash-Flanders-photo-by-Pia-JohnsonThe outdoor stage and viewing area of Malthouse Theatre had another wonderful transformation to become the deck of the SS Metaphor.

With uneasy weather including a brisk wind as accompaniment (getting brisker as dusk took hold), the cast took those assembled and rugged-up on the nautical equivalent of a joyride.

Or perhaps a better comparison would be someone over the limit at the wheel, as the show twisted and turned through drunken cabaret, hijacking of the ship, shock reveals, hijacking of the spotlight, conspiracies.

Writer Ash Flanders has navigated a fun and engaging lane for the show to travel, all the while routinely leaving small linguistic curios and expressions – describing real-life events by referring to moments in the show that have similar characteristics to those events. There really should be a word for that!

Natalie Gamsu staggered out Patsy Stone style in a glorious and garish performance of the SS Metaphor’s number one Diva, keeps the audience in that reassuring, in-between state of being entertained by her performance and terrified that her performance might interact with them.

Ash Flanders also features in the cast, stepping prominently into the spotlight and – despite the situation onboard devolving into threats of violence (and actual violence) – does his hilarious best to never leave it.

Zenya Carmellotti had a lovely turn as the unsuspecting passenger caught up in a myriad of events. There was more than enough zany in the story and the other performances, so Zenya’s depanned delivery was a welcomed and effective contrast.

While the ship’s engine might be under duress, the engine of the show was always in fine form from the opening bars of the show, supplied by Musical Director, Will Conyers at the piano. Will’s playing was excellent, as was his comedic timing when bantering with Natalie and others from his keyboard.

There’s not many better ways to say farewell to a difficult year than with good company, sharing a couple of glasses of wine outside, and wishing smooth sailing to a great production. “Bon voyage!”

S.S. Metaphor
Malthouse Outdoor Stage, Sturt Street, Southbank
Performance: Thursday 9 December 2021
Season continues to 19 December 2021
Information and Bookings: www.malthousetheatre.com.au

Image: Will Conyers and Ash Flanders in S.S. Metaphor – photo by Pia Johnson

Review: David Collins