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Review: Shadows of Love: a Triptych at Christ Church Milton - Fringe Brisbane

Review By Panayiota

It is in the hopes and dreams of every woman who trusts the man she engages herself with — to be safe, to be whole, to be fruitful. We'd all like to see that for them. Right?

But the truth is far from it.

Shadows of Love: a Triptych brings to light the poignant fact that what happened to women in the 40s, 50s, 60s in Australia, the USA, Sweden where these plays originated, is still happening in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 10s, and 20s and all around the world.

It is a fact of life until it is not.

It is the opinion of this reviewer that good theatre is thought provoking theatre and The Curators’ Theatre do tend to portray characters who stand alone in this and their storytelling abilities.

Directors Lisa Hickey and Helen Strube appear to have, consciously or not, set out to inform their audiences while challenging them into potentially rethinking social norms, aka social conditioning.

In the first instance, the Set/Stage, Michael Beh and Lisa Hickey, is practically bare. Just a few bits of furniture with the addition of some old white clothing and other memorabilia hanging from above. Minimal and necessary as this allowed the Lighting, Nathaniel Knight, and Sound, Erin O’Shea, to take care of setting the mood beautifully. You always knew where you were in time and space. Sound offered a selection of songs of old; quite relevant to each play while our Chanteuse, Chelsea Burton, offered her sweet Jazz vocals as she transitioned the plays from beginning to end.

These three plays portray any woman’s ability to love while enduring punishment, deceit and despair at a time in history? … where they had no voice?

Collectively, they all dreamt of having the husband, the house, the family. These women are alive still today and each fulfilling their needs to be women and their needs to be respected within their respective communities. Our characters, therefore, fill the stage with passion, drive, love, desire, hopes and dreams and yes, a bit of musicality and dance while spiced with humour.

Mrs Thally F, by John Romeril (Australia) as directed by Lisa Hickey and starring Sherie Smith as Yvonne, and Bronwyn Nayler as Yvonne’s Mother, These women brought high energy and vibrancy to their performance.

Followed by Trifles (USA) by Susan Glaspell (adapted by Helen Strube), where we see Bronwyn Nayler again, as Minnie Foster. Caroline Sparrow, Mrs Peters and Eleanora Gianardi as Mrs Hale. James Kable was George Henderson.

And finally, The Stronger by August Strindberg (Sweden) (adapted by Helen Strube and Lisa Hickey) + The Stronger - Life Lessons, by Helen Strube. This introduced Lisa Hickey as Isabella alongside Caroline Sparrow’s Amelia.

Overall, in all three plays, each actress personified their characters in such a way that they've not only brought forth the reality of their circumstances, but they brought forth an uncanny sense of humour that could be seen in these dire situations. Their character choices were wonderfully bold and, at times, pleasantly animated as well.

And a special mention to choreographer, Stuart Mauchline. Opening the show with dance of old really hit the mark.

As a first time reviewer, where I thought I would take notes and maybe a photo here or there, I spent the duration sitting on the edge of my seat. This is a must see performance.

Image Supplied

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