Sunday, 13 April 2014
MAD MARCH HARE'S 'A MOMENT ON THE LIPS' dissected by Hayley
As I walked down the stairs to the Old Fitz theatre I was punched in the face with the acrid odour of pot. Or was it mould? I'm not sure I can tell the difference anymore. Years of shared townhouses in the inner-west has rendered these two odours indistinguishable. The more I think about it, the more I realise it was probably a mixture of both. By the time I walked into the theatre the smell had dissipated, replaced with another smell reminiscent of student living, smell of ply-wood sawdust and bargains, smell of Ikea.
The stage was set similar to Tyler Durden's condo. A beech, modular Ikea wardrobe, an ikea couch and floating floorboards. I knew this look well. It looked like the first house I lived in straight after uni. I can imagine set designer Charles Davis had a painful weekend with an allan key assembling flurgens.
The opening dinner party introduces us to the seven female characters. Claudia Barrie as Emma sets the tone with “I'm so desperate, I think I might spike my own drink.” We soon learn that the women live very separate lives, their only common link is their shared past. Their friendships are now straining with the added weight adult responsibilities. Their snappy chatter is playful and familiar. I feel like I am on the couch glass of wine in hand, watching my old friends try to drink away their initial discomfort of catching up with people you no longer understand.
Mad March Hare's production of A Moment on the Lips, attempts to tackle a variety of issues through its all female cast. Freedom of religion, third culture living, gay marriage, financial independence and female body images. Some of these issues are tackled more authentically than others. The character of Dominique felt flat and I don't think this was a result of Sonja Kerr's performance. Maybe director Mackenzie Steele could have spent more understanding the significance of her prognosticating character to give her more mass.
The rapid, quick fire dialogue was fun. However, there were times the piece flounced close to the line of cliché. I'd say this was mostly due to Jonathan Gavin's writing. Steele's mostly careful direction meant that the performances skirted away from what easily could have been eye-rollingly stereotypical portrayals of the seven women.
The scenes between the sisters Victoria and Jenny (played by real-life sisters Beth and Sarah Aubrey) were strong and deeply personal. I couldn't flaw either of their performances. Though, the standout for me was Lucy Golby as Rowena she gave a very realistic and nuanced performance as a character that could have very easily fallen into the long list of stereotypical lesbian portrayals in the Sydney theatre scene. Golby played Rowena in such a lovable way, that she became the heart of the piece.
A Moment on the Lips is a personal and sentimental piece of theatre. It made me want to call all of my friends from high school and remind them I love them, just in case they die in an unlikely bird related car accident.