Theatre Review by Lisa Romeo
What: Yeah Absolutely
Where: La Mama Theatre
When: 23rd March to 27th March
Written by: Anna McCarthy
Performed by Anna McCarthy and Jem Nicolas
Set and Costume Design: Romanie Harper
Lighting Design: Katie Sfetkidis
Sound Design: Daniel Nixon
Dramaturg: Lara Thoms
Outside Eyes: Stephen Nicolazzo and Lara Stevens
As part of the 30th Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2016 Yeah Absolutely is weird and wonderful, what I always expect to find at La Mama Theatre. Experimental in it’s approach it looks closely at the performance of self, both on stage and in every day life, provoking the audience with the exaggeration of mundane happenings and conversation through repetition and changes in mood.
The stage resembles a Movie stars dressing room, fit for the feminine type, bright lights surround the mirrors and powder puffs, gloss, foundation and lipstick spread across the dresser in a well-used, un-orderly fashion. Of course the all-essential ashtray is present to help the nerves before one takes to the stage.
Two performers getting ready aim for perfection and beauty as they apply the finishing touches to the make-up, McCarthy and Nicholas each play out the diva preoccupied only with self. An exercise warm-up before the show reveals a vivid contrast between the two, one soft and gentle, the other unafraid to twist and gyrate through her final stretches, loud sounds of struggling through her workout are not held back.
The performers go on to give us snap shots of acting auditions, over the top and funny, showing the difficulties an actor is confronted with daily, the accents, the drama and expression, an extension of life’s scenarios.
The two actors show the audience how a mundane conversation about coconut oil, if repeated in varying moods and styles of performance can be so different each time. This is clever, the many repetitions of the same conversation is actually quite entertaining when each one is delivered with a personality switch. Start with the ‘normal girl talk’, standard chatter taking an unimportant topic for the sake of making small talk. Take that same conversation and change personalities, becoming a psycho, or a tantrum throwing diva, and you get a totally different feel and reaction from your audience.
The actors are very funny as they take us through their idealism of actors in Romeo and Juliet, (the modern film of course!), chats about Letterman’s interviews and Brazilian waxing. Throw in a nervous smoking addiction, an Angel costume and tactility with the audience and it pans out to be a delightfully funny show.
A bit of madness, lots of fun, subtle messages in there about a females’ struggle to prove their self worth both as an actor and as their everyday self and it’s an entertaining package of a show.
From the well-matched sound design, changing as often as the moods of the performers, the lighting fading in and out motioning the changes and the partnership of actors with dramaturg Lara Thoms, Yeah Absolutely is an obviously well chosen collaboration of a young cast and crew of enthusiastic and exciting theatre makers.
Melbourne based writer and performer Anna McCarthy has enjoyed several critically acclaimed seasons as one third of the feminist theatre company I’m Trying to Kiss You. Jem Nicholas has been nominated a Green Room award for her performance in ‘Love, Love, Love’ at Red Stitch.