Kath Perry takes us through a whirlwind of “wicked, revengeful and murderous” women in eleven of Shakespeare’s plays, within an hour. No mean feat given that Shakespeare did not often give the female characters in his plays a lot of comic intent.
Producers: Straylight AustraliaVenue: Marian Street Theatre Killara Review Date: Special Preview – Thursday, 17 February, 2011 Kath Perry takes us through a whirlwind of “wicked, revengeful and murderous” women in eleven of Shakespeare’s plays, within an hour. No mean feat given that Shakespeare did not often give the female characters in his plays a lot of comic intent.
Perry, who wrote this saga of “ambition, strength and power” tops and tails it with a talk show setting, interviewing Shakespeare (Alexander Jonas) and suggesting that perhaps his portrayal of women has influenced violence and mayhem in the ‘gentler’ sex. There follows excerpts from many of the better and lesser known plays with Cat Martin and Kath Perry taking the roles of the various women.
Jonas keeps up the narration and linkage of the selections by giving a potted précis of the play and a view on the action of the women. As my companion pointed out, it might have been nice to know a little of this from the women’s viewpoint, rather than the playwrights.
Perry is beautifully strong and controlled throughout the night with her portrayal of Tamora from Titus Andronicus, one of the most powerful in the progression. Cat Martin makes a meaningful and resonant Queen Margaret (Henry V1 and Richard 111) with Jonas opposite as a suitably grubby and evil Richard.
The piece is a wonderful vehicle for the actors involved, although it was difficult at times to build the depth of character and emotion for the scenes involved in just a few moments. Playing so many parts takes a skill of definition to make each part, each Queen, each woman, very different from the others. In some effect the red themed clothing and accessories adopted by the women for changing various parts was effective and Perry excelled in quick switch characterisation.
It would have been nicer to have had more conjoined moments, a little more analysis of the women and their links and motivations. However overall as a piece it worked well and the producers might think of promoting it to schools.
The production directed by Greg de Polnay and Roz Riley was tight, taut and fast with attentions to detail and technicalities that left the audience in safe secure hands.
This play has come from the Edinburgh Festival and now goes to the Adelaide festival for three weeks.