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Review : Polygamy, Polygayou at the Old Ballroom, Trades Hall, Melbourne

By Kerrie Batrouney

Polygamy, Polygayou is a comedy / musical about the three wives of Edgar and their adventures after he sadly dies. The sister-wives like to sing and their songs tell a story of their life in the remote town of Old South Wales then on to LA and weirdly, Berlin in their quest for stardom. It is a hilariously ludicrous escapade written by it’s four performers and directed and produced by Clare Rankine.

The old Ballroom is an intimate room with comfortable chairs set round tables allowing friendly mingling before the show started. The stage is set all in black with stark, pious crosses and the wives wearing black, sack-like dresses. This highlights the contrast with the Hollywood attire they later reveal… all sparkles and bling.

The scene is set… They live in Old South Wales “where marriage rules are off the rails” and Edgar marries 3 women in his quest to have a child. The loving family live a sheltered life away from the modern age where “outsider speak is heresy” until Edgar has a nasty accident in his horse and carriage.

There are 4 characters, wife number 1, Evelyn (Charity Wern), wife number 2, Catherine (Alice Tovey), wife number 3, Brandi (Margot Tanjutco), and they are plucked from obscurity by big shot Hollywood music producer Janet St Claire (Haley Tantau). Evelyn is “Edgar’s primary wife and the only literate among them”, Catherine and Brandi (with an i) are younger and fascinated by the “New Ideas” they glimpse in a magazine. When Janet hears them singing at Edgar’s funeral she tempts them to go to LA were she will promote their singing group.

The group - The Spouse Girls - consist of Brandi, the pretty one, Catherine, the sassy one and Evelyn, the third one. They are aided by self-confessed genius Janet who is a “sumptuous paragon of virtue” and she helps guide the innocent women in their quest for fame and fortune.

The show is chock -full of funny one-liners and absurd ideas that keep the audience engaged and laughing along. The performers have great comic timing and play off their differences but at the same time are believable as a loving family. The cast admit to cutting major narrative corners to move the plot and have an amazing montage scene, referencing a number of movie makeover montages.

I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a thoroughly entertaining escape from reality. A show addressing polygamy should be a little confronting but what comes across the strongest is the love and support the sister-wives show for each other. The cast are destined for success and were supported by the attendance of well known Australian comedians so you knew you were in for a good show.

I did find it difficult to pronounce the name of the show both in my head and out loud, but all was revealed towards the end in a rousing song and I’d like to share this with you…… it’s Polyga-me, Polyga-you….. now I get it, or maybe it was just me?

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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