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Suzy Wrong

Suzy Wrong

Listings and reviews (8)

Green Park

Green Park

4 out of 5 stars

After a sell-out run in 2021, this site-specific psychosexual drama returns to the great outdoors of Green Park in Darlinghurst with a special run for Sydney Festival from January 19-20. BYO picnic rug (and rain poncho, just in case) and get ready to listen in on your headphones as a hook-up goes awry. Read on for our review from the 2021 season. Two men meet in a park, after having connected on a hook-up app. Edden is young, out and Black, and Warren is middle-aged, closeted and white. In Elias Jamieson Brown’s Green Park, it is the sexual dalliance that brings different worlds together. Juxtaposing the most intimate of human acts against the severe divisions of 21st-century life, the two characters engage in a constant tug-of-war, as we meditate on hopes of camaraderie and unity. Sex is by nature a binding force, yet it is able to reveal so poignantly, the fractures that exist between individuals. Staged by Griffin Theatre Company, this show is helmed by artistic director Declan Greene. Rather than stage it at Griffin's home base, he places the action outside, in the actual Green Park of Darlinghurst. With all walls of the usual theatrical space removed, he insists that the audience sees not only the performers but also the historically significant location that lends its name to the play. Unintended supporting actors surround the action, offering real-life noise that makes us look over our shoulders, as we sense the omnipresent threat of violence that queer people must liv

Happy Days

Happy Days

4 out of 5 stars

Winnie (Belinda Giblin) is trapped in a mound of dirt, unable to move, and yet she persists in carrying on with life in whatever way she can. The unyieldingly abstract Happy Days by Samuel Beckett evokes what feels to be an infinite number of themes. In its refusal to impose restrictive parameters, choosing instead to include vague references as to who Winnie might be and what might have happened to her world, we discover that the storytelling happens predominantly inside the viewer's head. One of art’s fundamental purposes is to inspire. When Beckett is done well, the resonances from his work are entirely transcendent. And, on this occasion, the mind’s eye is undoubtedly provided plenty to latch onto. Set design by Charles Davis manufactures, for the stage, a vision of the apocalypse. We find Winnie stuck in the remains of a planet that has been burnt to the ground. Ash everywhere, and behind her stands a faded billboard touting “there is nothing like Australia,” a throwback to when tourism, and money, meant something. The juxtaposition of a genuine artefact from the realm of commerce and advertising, against an imaginary disaster zone, makes so pertinent the self-destructive nature of modern existence. Giblin is exquisite in the role of Winnie. With half a century of performance experience under her belt, it is perhaps not surprising that the level of preparedness Giblin brings should be anything less than comprehensive. But to watch her in action is completely disarming. E

The Linden Solution

The Linden Solution

3 out of 5 stars

Alexander Lee-Rekers’ new play The Linden Solution is concerned with complacency in the face of obvious and significant threats from nefarious forces. In this epoch of social media proliferation, with fascists always seemingly ready to pounce, it makes a strong argument for vigilance. Hannah Marr (Laura Djanegara) is an ambitious local government staffer living and working in the fictitious Australian town of Linden. An all-too recognisable place, its residents prove unwaveringly apathetic, worn down by decades of disappointment in rural politics. She takes the opportunity to implement a host of initiatives surreptitiously, perhaps not entirely by the book. Things seem to be working according to plan, but as life in the town improves, her policies create a foothold for white supremacist powermonger Aaron Boorman (Patrick Cullen). He identifies an opportunity for his perilous narcissism to flourish in the amenable and acquiescent populace. It’s an interesting setup, but the narrative construction isn’t entirely persuasive. The “slippery slope” scenario Lee-Rekers paints does bear logic, but the story unfolds in a manner that feels exaggerated and abrupt. Although unvaried and overly naturalistic, Camilla Turnbull’s direction does convey a gravity that’s commensurate with the subject matter's undeniable urgency. There are physical hurdles too. Tess Burg's set design features an unnecessarily high platform that makes for inconvenient movement of performers. Lights by Sophie Pekb

Dogged

Dogged

4 out of 5 stars

Dogged’s story begins with a dingo looking for her babies in the lands of alpine Victoria, on Gunaikurnai country. During her search, she encounters a dog and his human owner, a white woman hunter on the prowl for wild dogs like her to collect their skin for profit. Writers Andrea James and Catherine Ryan explore the broken relationship between contemporary humans and nature, as well as the difficult bonds between Indigenous Australians and colonisers. The 80-minute play is ambitious in scope, with a complex structure that reflects its creators' desire to encapsulate many discussions. In addition to environmentalism and racism, Dogged also touches on feminism and capitalism. It’s a work about injustice that cares to be vastly inclusive, with an allegorical approach that is sometimes obvious but mostly obtuse, suggesting it will speak more intimately to those already invested in these ideas. The action-packed production incorporates energetic sequences choreographed by adept movement director Kirk Page, providing an exquisite dimension of visceral excitement to the narrative. Three extraordinary performers hold us captive for this strange and sometimes bewildering tale of inter-species adventure. First Nations actor Sandy Greenwood (Matriarch, Stolen) is spectacular as Dingo, conveying incredible detail between the lines. A transmorphic genius, we watch her as dingo and human simultaneously, illustrating the parallel plights of being Indigenous and female, and in a bigger pict

Yellow Face

Yellow Face

3 out of 5 stars

It is not such a strange move that a playwright should make themself the central character in their own work, but in David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face, it is an obviously absurd conceit. Fictionally, the Asian-American writer commits the theatrical cardinal sin, by mistakenly casting a white man to play one of his Asian characters. Hilarity ensues, perhaps unsurprisingly, in this quirky comedy about race relations in America, and racial representation in the arts more broadly. Much has changed, in these political discussions, since the play’s original 2007 premiere. Enjoying its Australian premiere at Kings Cross Theatre, some of its arguments seem slightly dated, as does some of its humour. Still, the essence of what it wishes to impart remains valuable. The current resurgence of anti-Asian sentiment, most notably in post-Trump USA and in the middle of a global crisis, has brought back analysis and commentary around the concept of the “model minority”. Hwang certainly embodies this idea, being one of the biggest success stories of Asian-Americans who have made it on Broadway. When people from marginalised cultures are given mainstream recognition for remarkable achievements, we are celebrated for having triumphed in spite of particular challenges. We also become intractably associated with those limitations and, unlike our white, straight, cisgender, non-disabled counterparts, we struggle to be perceived as whole persons. As being more than the narrow identities ascribed upon

Home, I'm Darling

Home, I'm Darling

4 out of 5 stars

Judy appears to live the most idyllic existence, shaping her life after the prototypical 1950s British housewife. From her head to her shoes, from her kitchen to her bathroom, everything is authentic of the era. Even her meals are prepared with historical accuracy. Her husband Johnny, a realtor, is also required to adhere to these rules, dressing in suspenders and a trilby hat, driving off to work in a vintage car with his lunch box. Judy’s world is quite strange indeed, considering that the year in which we meet her is actually 2018. In playwright Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, we see a woman desperately trying to find a sense of harmony by retreating into a space she feels control over. Where she has decided that by moving back some 60 years in time, she is going to manufacture order out of chaos. Inside her inner sanctum, Judy wears high heels, girdles and swing skirts. She cleans behind furniture, in addition to cooking and baking all day. It never quite occurs to her, that to attain the peace and freedom that have evaded her outside in the real world, she has paradoxically locked herself into a past that we know to be anything but emancipatory, for women especially. Home, I’m Darling is an intriguing work. Wade’s writing inspires curiosity from the outset, with Judy’s strange choices provoking us to ponder the conditions outside of her house, ergo our collective realities, that have driven a woman to seek refuge in such an extreme manner. We come up with some very big q

Stop Girl

Stop Girl

3 out of 5 stars

When Suzie returned from Kabul in 2011, it was the shock of the normal that started her on an agonising downward spiral. In prominent Australian journalist Sally Sara’s semi-autobiographical playwrighting debut Stop Girl, Suzie is her doppelganger, through which stories of trauma and of healing could be told. After years covering the war in Afghanistan, in addition to other disasters all over the world, Suzie intends to buy a home. She’s ready to put down her roots in Sydney for a new phase in life. What greets her, however, is a torrent of mental health disintegrations that prevent her from experiencing the comparative peace, on this land, that the rest of us almost always takes for granted. Sheridan Harbridge (Prima Facie) plays the lead role of Suzie, who falls into a state of psychological torment, allowing us valuable insight into the workings of severe upheaval on the human mind and body. Best friend Bec is played by a spirited Amber McMahon, offering an effective point of reference and contrast, demonstrating the degree to which our protagonist has deteriorated. Mansoor Noor is memorable as Suzie’s resilient fixer and producer Atal, an important embodiment of our responsibilities towards those in war-torn countries. Also very accomplished are Deborah Galanos and Toni Scanlan, both performers showing admirable commitment to their parts, as psychologist and mother respectively. There is unequivocal passion and honesty in Sara’s writing, but undue conventionality in form

Jali

Jali

4 out of 5 stars

There is an unmistakeable irony to comedian and actor Oliver Twist choosing that name for himself. Unlike Dickens’ famed character, this Australian Twist does not, for a moment, ask for sympathy, even though his experiences as a child refugee were often abhorrent and harrowing. In the hour-long one-person show Jali, writer and performer Twist charts his difficult journey from Rwanda to Ipswich, Queensland, not as a piece of overwrought melodrama, but with an exquisite, scintillating humour. To our “first-world” sensibilities, this is perhaps a surprising turn of events, having become used to stories of this nature being framed as a sort of “tragi-porn”, offering perverse catharsis for viewers who have done more in contributing to the hardship of asylum seekers, than actually helping them. In Jali, we see a protagonist emerge victorious, in spite of the obstacles we put in his way. Twist’s writing alternates between a sublime sense of the poetic, and a disarming realism derived from his burgeoning career as a stand-up comic. As the show moves back and forth in time, we observe his personal growth over the years whilst gaining an understanding of trauma, and memories of traumatic events, as omnipresent forces that are carved into our beings, playing out their effects even when we are unconscious of their existence. Twist is on a joyful trajectory, but a bright future does not mean a forgotten past. As a performer, Twist is full of charm and remarkably at ease with his audience.

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