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Review: Ladybird Ladybird

Reviewed by Lauren Donikian

Ladybird Ladybird is a play about one woman’s journey through pregnancy and what comes after that. With chronic pain and unwillingness to ask for help Veronica shares her story through monologues and interaction with the cast. This isn’t just her story, she shares the stage with three other women, as we see them relate, judge, and share their own pain. It is a dark time in Veronica’s life, but these women are the support she needs, even if she doesn’t know it.

Written by Linda Nicholls-Gidley, Ladybird Ladybird explores some hard-hitting topics including post-natal depression, and the chronic pain that some women experience during their pregnancy. It is a cleverly written play with things mentioned at the top that foreshadow what is to come. These words create images and a world that we are thrust into.

As you enter, blue lights hit the stage that consists of 3 staggered platforms that are slanted for easy access. Set designer Henriette Gabreal has arranged these in size and they are multipurpose. At times they are a seat, a bed or a step and enhances how intertwined and close these women are. There are laundry baskets full of toys, clothes, and other home supplies at the bottom of the first platform these help as a storage space for props but are also reflective of most peoples houses when they are in the process of moving or are struggling to get by. Everything about these baskets feels overwhelming. Like the position the main character Veronica has found herself in. It is a simple but effective use of the space. Director Anthony Skuse continues to create a small world by keeping the cast close at most times throughout the play. Even when Veronica is meant to be alone on stage, the cast are sitting in seats nearby or on a different platform. The choice to keep them on stage is a smart one and pays off well.

Produced by Vox Theatre, Linda Nicholls-Gidley also stars as Veronica. It is almost impossible to take your eyes off her as she moves around the space. In moments of complete silence all you hear is the dragging of her feet and it is deafening. The pain of her character is displayed through her whole body and in the tone of her voice. Leilani Loau plays Veronica’s mother and nurse. How she managed to switch from characters was exciting to watch. Both cold at times, there was a real strength that she portrayed beautifully. Daniella Stamolous played Grace, a new friend of Veronica’s who has her own story to tell. Stamolous plays this character with restraint at first, which leads to care and understanding, treading lightly with not only her characters storyline, but Veronica’s as well. Silvana Lorenzo de Shute who plays Freya, another new friend is quite the opposite. With a no holds barred attitude, she says what she wants and doesn’t think about the consequences. She often provides laughs throughout the show and though there aren’t many, there is the anticipation for what her character will say next.

Ladybird Ladybird is a raw and honest portrayal of what some women experience in their lives, mental health issues and the stigma around it are brought to the surface and are addressed with the care they deserve. It is a moving piece that is heartbreaking but also hopeful. Further proof that with the right support, you can do anything.

Image Supplied


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