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Review: Cate Fucking Blanchett at Flightpath Theatre

Review by Alison Stoddart


The Sydney Fringe Festival not only introduces up and coming comedians to a wider audience but also playwrights, some who are gems. In the aptly names Flightpath Theatre in Marrickville a play within a play unfolds over 90 minutes. In a minimalist space with only a curtain backdrop upon which the setting of each scene is projected, a bemusing but intriguing play unfolds. It is a clever playwright who can tease their audience, confuse and manipulate them and still engender enough trust that the audience relaxes and goes with them on the journey. So it is with Karolina Ristevski’s ‘Cate Fucking Blanchett’, a play about a play trying to get written.


The story has four main characters. Encompassing multiple layers, a surface level narrative of three sisters Nina, Grace and Margot opens the play, and a fourth character, The Writer, (who is omniscient but also the Nina character, yes confusing). This character is inhabited five times over by double denim clad clandestine actors, the last few emerging from the audience, and the play makes good use of transitional and transformational acting. It is by this switching of persona’s that the narrative delves into the idea that the one who tells the story changes everything. As Nina says in defence of her writing ‘it’s just my version of the way I see things’. Nina then transitions into the (second) Writer with a change of actor, an apparent (but actually not) breaking of the fourth wall and a discombobulating moment for the audience.


The mock interview held towards the end with the (third) Writer was a lot of fun with the highly amusing ‘reflection’ on how the writer wrote the play. Reminiscence of creative writing students, ‘reflecting’ on creative process is a story in itself.


By the time we get to what we think is the ‘really real’ writer (the fourth) the audience is enjoying the journey and the superb impersonations of Cate Blanchett by Margo and Grace are pure icing.

The backdrop changes frequently to create a sense of place for each scene and this also becomes a great sight gag towards the end of the play when writer No.3 (I think) is musing out loud on the setting for the next scene.

Cate Fucking Blanchett ends with the fifth (and real) writer taking the stage, something we know is true due to the narrator assuring us we can trust this is the ‘real’ writer, because they will not talk.

Karolina Ristevski is certainly a real writer, with her impressive play doing all the talking for her


Image Supplied


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