My friends can sometimes get a little bit over me taking them out to shows that I review, and they will often comment wearily on the show we have seen as we walk home, not because a show was particularly bad but because they’re just a bit fatigued of seeing shows that are often a bit same-ish in content.
That, however, really was not the case after seeing A Midsummer Night’s Cream, the first production by Body Of Work, a performance company co-founded by the two stars of this show, Emma Maye Gibson and Charlotte Farrell. Excitedly my friend and I both jostled for talking time on how ingenious and fun-filled this show had been.
The production is brilliant, hysterically funny, inventive and heart-achingly poignant in equal measure. If I had to sum up the show in a singular descriptive, I would have to use the word chaotic, but even then, it is chaotic in the very best way.
The show contains a recurring theme referencing the storyline and dialogue of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. However, here, the staging incorporates a funky pop soundtrack, two gold trampolines, a bass guitar, a breast milk pump and a crash helmet with double dildo’s as horns, so clearly it’s not an authentic interpretation of the play written in 1595. At one point in the performance the audience were all served a slice of cake. Random, yes, but good random and I don’t doubt Shakespeare as much as anyone, would have appreciated an enjoyably moist Victoria sponge.
As this was the opening night, and as parts of the show were improvised, some set pieces became a tad hap-hazard, however under the expert guidance of the skilful Emma Maye (her alter ego Betty Grumble has been an icon of Sydney performance scene for over a decade) who’s stage presence is joyously masterful, moments either stayed on track just enough to make sense, or veered off into hysterical laugh-out-loud ridiculousness, which the audience ate up as eagerly as the free cake.
Despite the presentation being minimal with simple props, by the end of the show the space really had descended into chaos, with spontaneous sonnet lyrics plastered to the walls, glitter, broken glass and multiple disregarded fairy wings strewn across the stage. I do hope the Old Fitz pay their cleaners overtime.
It’s not often a show as chaotic and brilliant as this comes along and I fully recommend it. Not to be missed — and definitely do take a friend to chat as you leave.
Also, did I mention there was cake?