Murder, She Sang at the Newsagency
“Remember those sweet words, 'till death do us part…’” Revenge is a dish best served sizzling and this femme fatale is cooking with gas…
From doting housewife to murderous seductress, join our lethal lady on a high-speed joyride through the thrilling twists and turns of a classic film noir mystery - only this time through her eyes, not private eyes.
Watch the plot unravel at the hands of this manipulative, malevolent, man-eating mastermind. Murder, She Sang stars emerging musical theatre performer Caitlin Rose.
Rosie spoke with Caitlin about this self-devised work and the importance of getting more Australian voices onto the stage. Read the full interview below:
This lethal cabaret presented by Little Triangle is the brainchild of you, Alexander Andrews and Hayden Rodgers. What inspired the three of you to create this work?
Initially it was at my birthday drinks just before rehearsals started for Merrily We Roll Along and I was telling Rose about all these ideas I had for my own cabaret. Rose jumped in and said she would be interested in Little Triangle producing it, and so the seed was planted! It actually wasn’t until later in 2018 that Alex and I really started discussing ideas and it grew out of me initially wanting to do something funny around times I’d been rejected for roles, or my favourite roles, which is a very ‘classic’ cabaret idea and then Alex suggested creating a strong female character around my own personality (so much of this show is just me… which is scary!) and it kind of just grew from there – I have a deep connection to the 30s/40s eras so it felt like a natural progression from there. It’s actually hilarious how Hayden was brought on board for the project – after quite a few sessions of Alex and I catching up, we’d figured out a story and how the songs slotted in but realised whenever it came to actually writing the script we’d just say “and then she (Femme Fatale) says something along the lines of ‘oh you got me’… which obviously wasn’t conducive to a compelling story or successfully written cabaret! Hayden had worked on A Little Cabaret with Alex a few months prior so it just felt like the best fit. That first catch up with all three of us was probably the funniest/most productive session we’ve had as we filled Hayden in on our “and then she says something to this effect” plans. It’s 100% been a collaborative experience and I just can’t emphasise enough how blessed I am to be working with a team where there’s no judgement or negativity and the creativity can just flow and bounce off each other so easily! I feel like the luckiest person to be able to create something I’m so proud of with such an incredibly intelligent, compassionate and ruthlessly hardworking team.
You’ve previously worked with Little Triangle on a number of their shows, including Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along. What made you want to work with this production company again, and why did you feel they were the right company to put your work on the stage?
I was so lucky to have been able to work on their inaugural show “Sunday in the Park With George”. It was one of the best rehearsal and creative processes I’ve been a part of and I made so many lifelong friends doing that show. For those reasons it (and Little Triangle) will always hold a very special place in my heart. I wanted to work with this company again firstly, because they genuinely are great friends of mine (and who wouldn’t want to have the chance to work with their friends!) and secondly because I felt like they really listen to and hear their performers. I wanted to be able to create something in a safe space that could really have a chance to grow and flourish. I feel like we all work together really well and they tread this incredible line between professionalism and wanting to get the best work done possible, but also having the best time doing so. I can get really caught up in my chase for perfection so it’s good for me to have such a supportive network in the team that make up Little Triangle to know that they will always be honest but will also let me know when to let something go. Alex has an incredible vision and really will push for something to be ‘right’ instead of saying okay well that’s good enough – we’re two peas in a pod in that regard which can make the rehearsal process a long one! But when you do get that ‘something’ right… that feeling of everything coming together is so powerful.
Why have you chosen to tell this story through the lens of a one-woman show? How does this choice change the way we engage with the plot?
This was such a challenging decision to make actually. We initially started creating this in mind with having another actor playing the role of the detective, however ultimately realised this wasn’t the best way to tell her story – without giving too much away it made it really challenging to differentiate between ‘then’ and ‘now’ and it also meant we’d be giving scene time away that could otherwise have been directed at getting as far into the psyche of the Femme Fatale and figuring out why she did what she did. As much as this is a character I still feel as though it’s extremely relatable for many people who have had issues with their relationships – hopefully they don’t act on them as she does, but the emotion and realness is still there. You tread a fine line with the antihero character – you want the audience to hate her because she is this deliciously evil character, but you also want them to form an attachment to her and genuinely feel sorry for her. I think it makes for a much more engaging story for the audience because they can see that she really is a multifaceted character and hopefully can relate to her story throughout the piece. It also allows for more opportunity to really break down that fourth wall from the start, so we are able to have that interaction with the audience which I think more strongly communicates what we’re trying to achieve with the piece. I also think it sends a strong message that women can figure things out by themselves and carve out their own destiny, as the Femme Fatale most definitely does – for good or for bad!
More and more new works are coming to the Australian stage this year, and Murder, She Sang is one of them. Why do you think it’s so important to keep bringing new Australian works to the front?
There are so many incredible Australian writers and creatives putting out new Australian works, it’s so amazing. I think that whilst it’s important to be working on a variety of different shows, especially those hugely popular and fun Broadway/West End originating shows, it’s so important to push the home-grown agenda and support our own amazing local talent that we have here! I think we as a culture and community have so much to say and so to have companies like Little Triangle giving voice to new works and artists is just such a wonderful thing. I have so many friends who are currently writing or have written shows that deserve to be seen just as much as anything else and I think when we as a community really support and uplift each other, that’s when we can see the creative landscape broaden and shift.
What do you hope to achieve with Murder, She Sang, and what can audiences expect from this wild night of cabaret?
I genuinely hope people just enjoy themselves. I mean, it’s self indulgent for me because I got to choose all these amazing songs I love singing, play a ‘bad’ character which is just such fun and I get to do it all with my friends and share this creation with other people! But I do hope that people just have a chance to come to the theatre and escape for a little while. We swayed between ‘serious and thought provoking’ and ‘comedic’ throughout this entire process and I think we have captured a kind of happy medium. There are points in this show that are clearly absurd (not condoning murder or violence of any kind except for theatrical purposes) but I also think that there are poignant moments the audience can genuinely connect with. I think every person has a story and a history and that’s what connects us. It’s our job as actors and creatives to try and share as many of these experiences as we can and I’m just grateful to all the people coming along for the ride!
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
So hard to answer… if I HAD to choose I’d probably have to say Miracle City at the Hayes, it was inspiring, emotionally charged and incredibly thought provoking.
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Margaret River – it was the first ‘proper’ holiday my (now) husband and I went on and it holds an incredibly special place in my heart.
Dream show to perform in? I would love to be able to work with Christine again (Phantom of the Opera) – without doubt my favourite show.
Plays or musicals?
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
I’m studying psychology – I love helping people and feeling like I can make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small. My ultimate goal is to work with indigenous communities, particularly youths.
What’s next for you after this show?
I am performing in a cabaret conceived by my incredible Music Director, Harry Collins, in August along with three other spectacular performers. I then perform a dream role of Carla in (surprise!) Little Triangle’s NINE at the Seymour Centre in September. Immediately afterwards though is a glass of wine with my incredibly supportive and wonderful husband who I feel like I haven’t properly seen in months due to all these projects!
Murder, She Sang is on for two nights only at the Newsagency on June 13th and 14th. You can get your tickets here.