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Review: Vicky and Roger’s Cattle Call at Festival Hub: Trades Hall - Melb Fringe

Review By Emily White

The Beryls have returned to their small hometown to put on a play!

Vicky and Roger are attempting the most ambitious community theatre production you will ever hear described – and wish you could witness.

Patrick Dwyer as Victoria Beauvoir is everything you want in an aging pageant queen – beauty, grace, and an absolute refusal to give up the spotlight.

Laura Trenerry as Roger Seahorse is the charismatic over-bronzed showman who has taken on the role of director-producer-auteur-creative genius who learnt everything he knows from a pamphlet.

The Beryls’ over-the-top rendition of what goes on in a community theatre casting process will leave fans of Strictly Ballroom with tears in their eyes. Everything is high stakes, a melodrama in drag that speaks to the would-be leading lady in us all.

The show follows Vicky and Roger as they hold auditions for their upcoming production. The cast of “auditionees” is different every night, giving the show a variety line-up feel as well as having a story to follow – an ambitious format that the Beryls pull off seamlessly. I saw Meredith Cole as Mr Brian Littlefingers, Hannah Camilleri as Barb Duncan, and Lucy Fox as Richard Richard. All of the guest performers were impeccable character actors, who brought their own unique energy to the show, as well as interacting with the world that Vicky and Roger inhabit. The guests weren’t just added in, but really part of the world, and I would see this show every night of the season if I could.

The worldbuilding of the small town setting was so silly yet so recognisable. The fact that all of the guests seem to be someone Vicky and Roger went to high school with particularly made me chuckle, after all what’s more ridiculous than a clown with a backstory?

Trenerry and Dwyer’s comedic timing is impeccable, they flit from one beat to the next in perfect synchronisation. Vicky and Roger will go into an impromptu scene with the utmost commitment – exactly what you expect in the high stakes world of small town community theatre. The complicity between the performers is dazzling to watch, and the way they build tension between their characters kept the story moving along at a cracking pace full of wonderful and absurd detail.

The details really do elevate the show as a cracking character comedy that will stick in your mind long after your tears of laughter have dried. Whether it’s the sparkles in the costumes, the energy in the performance, or the melodrama in the dialogue. From Victoria’s posture to Roger’s smile – this is cohesive clowning.

The plot takes many twists and turns without ever being over-stimulating. For lovers of drag and the magic of theatre, Vicky and Roger’s Cattle Call will make your cheeks hurt and your heart sing.

Image Supplied


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