BWW Review: ROVERS
Written by Katherine Lyall-Watson and directed by Caroline Dunphy Rovers is a contemporary, post-dramatic work which uses the lens of comedy to explore the heart lines of fearless performers Barbara Lowing and Roxanne McDonald's lives and the uproarious misadventures of their female relatives who have inspired them to be who they are today. These stories included the one of Barbara Toy, who crossed desserts and warzones in her Land Rover as well as stories that warn us about the mysterious Bogeyman.
Lowing and McDonald have been working in the theatre and film industry both nationally and internationally for over thirty years and have yearned to do a show together for the past twenty. Rovers merges verbatim text from both actors and marries them with stories conjured up by their imagination and created as a result of their extensive research into Australia's bushranging women. Both actors shape their text with their raw passion for both each other and, most importantly, their love for storytelling. Although the narrative felt at times too fragmented, I loved the individual commentaries between each story as it was very personal and honest. I also loved the actors on stage interaction with Jeremy Gordon (technical manager & projection designer) Peter Cossar (production manager) so much that it made me wish that more performances would break the barrier between characters and actors. The thing which got the most laughs from the audience was the story about the camel and his business downstairs, which seemed to find a way to intertwine itself throughout the plot.
But what I loved the most about Rovers that despite there being a hundred people or so in the auditorium, it felt like such an intimate performance. You could tell that both performers were speaking nothing but the truth and they invite you to think about your own truth(s). The performers create a shared space and made each audience member feel so comfortable that it was a struggle to leave once the metaphoric curtains had closed.
Bello Creative is proudly an all-female, award-winning independent theatre company that produces original contemporary cross-cultural work and I can't wait from them to bring more stories of women to the stage, especially stories about strong Indigenous Australian women who, unfortunately, are often silenced in the theatrical realm. But I think this work is a step towards the change that we so desperately need. So please, go and support this beautiful company and community of creatives.
Presented by Belloo Creative and Katherine Lyall-Watson
Performed by Barbara Lowing and Roxanne McDonald