Review: The Ultimate Lesbian Double Feature (Old Fitzroy Theatre)

ultimatelesbianVenue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), Feb 23 – Mar 4, 2016
Playwright: Zoe Brinnand
Director: Lucy Hotchin
Cast: Kristen Adriaan, Kristina Benton, Joseph Lai, Tamara Natt, Shamita Sivabalan, Lana Woolf
Image by Sarah Walker

Theatre review
Zoe Brinnand’s half-hour plays Love In The Time Of Sexting and The Party traverse past and present in their examination of feminine desire and lesbian politics, to reflect a modern sensibility about queer identities in contemporary Australia. What the playwright presents is sassy, bold and funny, but most memorable for its celebratory spirit and a knowing rejection of tragedy and victimhood that tend to figure prominently in literary works about gay life.

Attempts at plot coherence are somewhat perfunctory, but Lucy Hotchin does a marvellous job of engineering amusing and lively episodes, while challenging conventional representations of gender and sexuality. The women in the work are neither consistently feminine nor masculine, and that fluidity extends to the way their libidos find expression. They are not one thing, and refuse to be restrained. Indeed, it is the freedom manifest in all their thoughts and actions that keeps us seduced and fascinated. Strong performances by Kristina Benton and Francis Lai bring excellent vibrancy to the production, both introducing a quality of passionate abandon that connects well with their audience.

The Ultimate Lesbian Double Feature may be radical but it is not pedantic with its world view. It is an inspiring work that can liberate, but one must remain open to the daring propositions it expounds especially when they seem much too boundless in relation to our prohibitive real lives. Theatre must spark our imagination, and provide a vision of what things might be. Utopia will always be found in the stories that we tell, but it is when they feel close to home that they are at their most powerful.