Review: Malthouse presents REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN.

By: Jun. 26, 2017
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Photo by Pia Johnson

Review by Josh Martin

Malthouse Theatre's production of Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. is an explosion of language and imagery that challenges society's gender labels and examines what it is to be a woman. It unapologetically rips away the female archetype and screams for its audience to rally behind its title.

Director, Janice Muller has created a daring and honest interpretation of playwright Alice Birch's work, with choices that surprise you at every turn.

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2013, Birch protests in her writing against civilization's vision of women. She uses a kaleidoscope of humour, rage, reality and delirium.

The play begins with a series of vignettes. We see lovers challenge the dominance between male and female roles in the bedroom and discuss if marriage is really still valid in todays society. Sophie Ross and the plays only male actor Gareth Reeves open the play strongly, working through the hilarity and absurdity of dirty talk. Ming-Zhu Hii then joins Reeves again to deconstruct a couples commitment to each other.

Belinda McClory and Elizabeth Esguerra, the plays remaining cast, then portray two contrasting women who try to understand each others values in the workplace, which provides more fantastic comic relief and Great Performances

Birch entices us with one more scene, that finishes with Ross delivering a chilling monologue, executed to perfection, before the play completely changes its structure and storytelling methods and catapults you into sometype of screaming post apocalyptic world.

Photo by Pia Johnson

Marg Horwell's set design is fantastic though in creating the two very different worlds that the actors reside within and her costuming strongly supports the vision of the play in the final scenes when we see the actors frantically changing costumes, every few minutes into more and more obscure items.

James Brown's sound composition & Emma Valente's lighting design also strongly support Muller's interpretation.

While all the actors performances are excellent and the creative team have done a great job in bringing Birch's play to life, the second half of the play does push far into the absurd and obscure, making it difficult to understand what is going on amidst pushups and burpees and sporadic one liners.

Overall, a show well worth a watch, thanks mainly to the eye opening first half.

Revolt. She said. Revolt again. is playing at Merlyn Theatre at Malthouse from 16 Jun - 9 July


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