Review by Mish Graham
The intimate space at Red Stitch almost guarantees you’ll be swept up into another world once you walk through the theatre door. The incredible set design (Sophie Woodward) is both creative and strategic, displaying every detail you’d expect from a pricey hotel suite.
On this specific evening, the show was accessible (Auslan interpreted) so I was able to bring some of my Deaf friends along and they thoroughly enjoyed it. One of them seemed particularly excited by the use of colour and fascinated by the round platform, with stairs leading to the focal point of the action.
The play documents the exactingly 90-minute appointment between PM Edith (Sarah Sutherland) and make-up artist Rosie (Julia Hanna) in real-time as they arrange for Edith’s acceptance speech, her first public appearance as leader of the country. Actors Julia Hanna and Sarah Sutherland provided impressive performances, revealing the contrast and commonality of a high-profile Politician at the height of her career and a witty, colourful make-up artist who was not afraid to speak her mind. While being engaging, it also gave cultural commentary on what life can be like for a contemporary female.
A finalist in the 2022 Max Afford Playwrights Award, Monument is written in such a way that it allows for variation of pace and emotion. Between the ‘cat fights’ and ‘sisterhood’, the push and pull amid the characters, moments of stillness that carried tension and explosive ‘throwing flowers in the bin’ outbursts – kept the audience guessing.
Monument deals with issues of feminism, trauma, cultural norms and expectations while exploring dynamics between women. Revealing the choice to either build each other up or tear each other down.
Reflecting on the show, I found it interesting how the characters bonded over varied yet mutual difficulties brought on by the men in their lives. The overall impression that I got was that we could all learn to treat each other better, not for what you can get out of it but simply because we are all experiencing this ‘human’ thing together.
While being witty and enjoyable to watch, it also touches on deeper issues which is what good theatre does.