The newest La Boite presentation of FOOD is a delicious concoction of food, family, sex, dreams, and realities with a healthy dose of the nature-versus-nurture debate.
Two sisters, the stoic Elma (Kate Box) and the flighty Nancy (Emma Jackson), take over their mother’s roadside café after she dies. Mixing sibling rivalry with dark recollections of the past, their former years were never a picnic.
Their lives take a new course when a charming foreigner Hakan (Fayssal Bazzi) enters their out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere existence as they turn the chico roll café into a comfort food restaurant.
Kate Box as the pragmatic and matronly, yet suppressed older sister, performs with a refreshing rawness. The delivery of lines subtly revealed the layers of this wonderfully drawn character.
Emma Jackson as the worldly, mould-breaking run-away, chooses not to play the victim but a survivor of her past. They are both survivors really, but on opposite sides of the same coin. Jackson’s embodiment of the role was playful, brave, and in total control. Her opening sequence was both disturbing and compelling, and a piece of directorial genius to tell that part of the story in dance.
Fayssal Bazzi as the quick talking, almost hyper-active Hakan was a surprise. Not only did he bring the exotic sensuality into the piece, but he also provided much of the comedy. Hakan had a cheeky charm that was easy to warm to and endearing to watch. Again, line delivery and timing was spot on.
The play, although presented by La Boite Theatre, is co-produced by Force Majere and Belvior St Theatre, and is a collaboration between writer/co-director Steve Rodgers and choreographer/co-director Kate Champion.
Having known their backgrounds before going into the play, I was geared up to see a piece of dance theatre, and although there were elements of physical theatre in dream-like sequences, they were only a minor element, but this was a good thing. The short gestured segments were well placed in the mix and served to enhanced the sensuality and deep connectivity of the story and characters.
Rodgers and Champion delivered a theatre piece, unique with it’s choice of ingredients; mixing naturalistic dialogue, heightened movement, flashbacks, direct delivery to the audience, and audience interaction as some enviable members became restaurant guests and were served minestrone soup, bread, and wine.
The scene, and in fact the entire play was set in the kitchen of the diner with the centrepiece being the chef’s island bench, surrounded by an assortment of industrial pots and pans. Not only did designer Anna Tregloan use them in practical ways to conceal props and clothes, and of course put the chopped food in to be cooked, but the various pots and pans hanging on the back wall was a piece of art in itself.
There were some very nice lighting moments (Martin Langthorne), with water like projections reflecting from the pots onto the actors face while they recalled certain events from their past. The lighting in addition to Ekrem Mulayim’s subtle sound design and original compositions added to create an atmosphere both comforting at times and uneasy at others.
For a true sensory experience, go and book your tickets for FOOD now, as this strictly limited season closes this Saturday.
For more details, visit the La Boite Theatre website: www.laboite.com.au
Dates: 16 – 27 April.
Venue: Roundhouse Theatre, 6-8 Musk Avenue Kelvin Grove Village
Duration: 90 minutes