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Review: TIDDAS at La Boite

Review: TIDDAS at La Boite

This production runs at La Boite Theatre until September 24

Review: TIDDAS at La Boite A page-to-stage adaptation by Anita Heiss, Tiddas follows the friendship of five woman who meet once a month to talk about books and the ups-and-downs of their personal lives. Described by Anita Heiss as a 'love letter to Brisbane', the play did reference a number of Brisbane suburbs and Mob and had Thelma Plum's recent Meanjin EP threaded throughout scenes of the show, but could have been set anywhere.

Despite the premise of the play being set around a book club, the discussion of the books was fairly brief, likened to a sub-plot which ultimately felt uncessary and forced.

Whilst Zoe Rouse's set design was spectacular (would love for her to come and design my living room like that) , it was under-utilised in Nadine McDonald-Dowell's direction. There were a plethora of missed opportunities by the cast to further immerse themselves in its nooks and crannies. To me, it felt more of a budget flex then an essential backdrop for the work, which is shame as you can see the amount of labour and love that Rouse had put into it.

The casting was excellent. Louise Brehmer delivered a powerful emotional performance as a battling alcholic, Chenoa Deemal encapsulated the wittness and charm of Ellen, Shakira Clanton played Xanthe with such delicacy, Phoebe Grainer played Izzy with such charisma with a dash of wistfulness and Anna McHaon played Veronica with a gorgeous groundness as the peacekeeper of the group. However, Sean Dow was the star of the show as he alternated between five roles; each with their own mannerisms, dialects and physicality. A true master of his craft.

However, unfortunately it was difficult to become emotionally attached to these characters when they all felt very surface-level and at times walking cliches of women in their late 30's and early 40's. The 100 minute running time of the play should have been enough time for us to develop an emotional connection with each of the five characters however, their one note archetypes of the divorce, the woman whose who life revolves around wanting to start a family but can't, the raging alcholic, the aspiring cultural trail blazer and the one who doesn't need no man.

While these archetypes are interesting foundations for characters, without being properly developed, they loose all of their nuance and the story feels like it is trying to tell a message rather than a narrative.

There is certainly enjoyment to be had while watching Tiddas and a sense of empowerment from it's characters, however, it is another example of a play that needed dramaturgical support in it's adaption from a book to a play; especially a book that some critics have deemed 'chick-lit'.

Rating 2.5 Stars

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From This Author - Virag Dombay

Virag Dombay is an award-winning actor, director, playright and theatric critic who has been engrossed in the theatric world from a young age. She has been involved in a variety of children’s... (read more about this author)

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