The story follows eight reindeer, reindeer we know by name but not much more. Reindeer who are ready to talk, to confess, to have their moment in the spotlight. In a different time and place this could have been seen as a tongue in cheek piece of theatre with a venomous bite at society (though I struggle to understand how this was ever the case).
As each story unfolds the audience is witness to some of the most misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, biphobic, slut-shaming, violent and deeply problematic writing I have ever heard. How this was ever given a first run in the 90s I will never know and why it was staged now, in this current political climate, is staggering.
Why the creative team felt that this was the work to put their names to is baffling. One can’t help but feel that if they are hoping to lend a voice to the #MeToo movement, they are horribly misguided. Works such as this are exactly what the movement is trying to work against. With themes that encourage audiences to not listen, not believe, not confront and simply allow predators to get away with it – what in the world were they hoping to say…
And why, after reading the script, did the performers stay with this work. It is not heartbreaking but frustrating to see talented performers wasted in this piece. I honestly question why each performer agreed to be a part of this project – if it was for experience or network, then this was an opportunity to decline and wait for a better project to come along.
But if they sincerely believe in this work, then I hope they have made peace with putting these words in their mouths. Overall a simple set, unnecessary lighting changes and messy direction did little to avoid the disaster unfolding on stage.
The Eight – Reindeer Monologues
The MC Showroom, 1/48 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Wednesday 18 December 2019
Season continues to 21 December 2019
Information and Bookings: www.themcshowroom.com
Image: The Eight Reindeer Monologues (supplied)
Review: Gavin Roach