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Review: [YOUR NAME] at KXT

Review by Kate Gaul


[YOUR NAME] is the latest divertissement from Purple Tape Productions at KXT.   Writer Kate Bubalo has a background in sketch writing and comedy as well as performing both.  They completed [YOUR NAME], their first play, as part of their MFA at NIDA and it has been shortlisted for a Griffin Award. [YOUR NAME], uses the existence of fan fiction and the rise of the internet for its dissemination to create an hilarious dramedy.


Fan fiction is a type of writing that responds to something else like a book, a TV show or a film. People write fan fiction because they are big fans of their chosen story and want to create more of it.


Three teenagers are creating a Harry Potter-esque fanfic. The world of Harry Potter fanfiction is rich and diverse, expanding on beloved characters and exploring new paths. When this erotic (and smutty!) fan fic is accidentally submitted to their PDHPE teacher, things start getting interesting. They continue writing their fanfic whilst their relationships between each other start to break down. At a serious level, the play is asking questions about the sexuality and sexualisation of teenage girls, the importance of fantasy in our lives, how stories can have a life of their own and the dangers, delights and everything in between of the internet. It’s funny. The play feels overly long in production and would benefit from another draft following this outing to tighten up the drama.


Lily Hayman directs and, alongside intimacy coordinator Shondelle Pratt, has shaped some gloriously comic sex scenes with an extraordinary cast who throw themselves into this heightened and fantastic world.  Andrew Fraser is without doubt doing a lot of the heavy lifting as the only male onstage.  As PDHPE teacher, Mr Isaacs, he grapples with the complexity of teaching sex education in an all-girls school and then discovering he is the object of their internet fantasy.  It is a detailed, physical, spirited, and nothing-short-of-camp-when-necessary performance. Evelina Singh shines as schoolgirl Petra who pens the first hot chapter of the story. Their incredible charisma, skill and unique creativity are on high beam as we watch them relish this role. Lola Bond plays cry-baby Kris - who accidently submits the fanfic to Mr Isaacs rather than the required assignment - and the character’s anxiety is palpable.  Georgia McGinness plays the more sober Nadine.  All three women get to play their mothers too in an outrageous scene when Mr Isaacs has summoned adults to the fray.  McGinness and Bond are particularly revelatory.


Closing words from producer and director Lily Hayman seem apt: "The play is pure joy; it is an ode to those who grew up around the internet in the 2010-2016 era (me for real). The play is witty, erotic, and energetic. We are laughing along (and at) the characters and situations throughout the play. But underneath all the crazy magic and special effects (think Cursed Child on a KXT budget) lies a compelling message about the lives of young women and their experience of the world. The play acknowledges that the women who are seen as 'silly little girls' have real emotions, issues, and challenges that shouldn't be dismissed".


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