Venue: Fringe HQ (Potts Point NSW), Oct 9 – 19, 2019
Playwright: Sophia Simmons
Director: Erica Lovell
Cast: Naomi Belet, Angie Brooke, Kathryn Edmonds, Jessica Loeb, Emily McKnight, Monika Pierprzyk, Monica Sayers
Playwright: Peter Maple
Director: Simon Thomson
Cast: Jessie Lancaster, Emily McKnight, Nell Nakkan
Images by Robbi James, Christopher Starnawski
In two separate plays, actor Emily McKnight plays two young women, both trying to grow out of their parents’ shadows. In Sophia Simmons’ Gravity Guts, a young Sophia wishes to become an astronaut, because her intelligence refuses to be contained by the planet, and also because she needs to flee as far away as possible, from an angry alcoholic father. Peter Maple’s Ginger.Black.Brunette.Blonde. features Sarah, traumatised by her mother’s death, and unable to establish a selfhood independent of painful, cancerous memories. Both plays are spirited and imaginative, with Simmons’ work memorable for its thoroughly realistic depiction of a triumphant character, while Maple’s writing goes very melodramatic and abstract, perhaps too pretentious for meaningful resonance.
Directed by Erica Lovell, Gravity Guts boasts excellent use of a chorus, comprised of six energetic women, perfectly choreographed to enhance its protagonist’s story of defiant resilience. McKnight is convincing as Sophia, very passionate with the way she presents the role’s irrepressible ambitions. As Sarah however, her emotions are similarly intense but rarely authentic. Directed by Simon Thomson, Ginger.Black.Brunette.Blonde. is appropriately heightened in style, although sound and lighting requires greater finessing. Jessie Lancaster and Nell Nakkan make the most of this opportunity of an unusually flamboyant piece, both performers leaving good impressions with their interpretations of powerful personalities.
It is likely that there is no surer way for a person to mature, than when they come to accept their parents’ flaws. When one is able to completely recognise their parents to be unremarkable humans, capable of the worst behaviour, one can begin to develop a true adulthood. Some believe that we are all damaged, no matter how well-intentioned the ones who bring us up, but we must believe that old wounds can heal. Whether permanent or not, the problems we inherit, must be thought of as amendable, even if they require a lifetime’s attention.