The Hero Leaves One Tooth – REVIEW

The Hero Leaves One Tooth – REVIEW
Image: The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo - Clare Hawley

Ratcatch Theatre’s new production The Hero Leaves One Tooth at the KXT on Broadway is a brave attempt to tackle the pertinent issues of disassociation in the digital age and, despite living in a post feminist age, the ongoing physical threats faced by women.

Written by Erica J Brennan and directed by Cam Turnbull, it opens with a folk song about gender fluidity and a brief explanation of the origins of the myth of vagina dentata across a number of the world’s formative societies and religions.

Common to all, vagina dentata folk lore is the belief certain women’s vaginas contain teeth that, in the act of sexual intercourse, may injure the male.

The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley
The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley

Moving into a dining room set for a dinner party that is both a homecoming for Felix (Michael McStay) and a reunion with Neeve (Kira-Che Heelan), his girlfriend of two years.

They have invited a disparate group of friends, and as we know from the Exterminating Angel and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and Six Degrees of Separation, not all dinner parties end well.

Arriving into the mix is Kadi (Cara Whitehouse), a doctor who performs vaginal dentate extractions, and her new flat mate Gem (Tom Rodgers) a close friend of Felix.

The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley
The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley

Adding to the dinner party nerves is the request from Felix that everyone lock up their phones as he is reverting to an slower and more meaningful analogue world.

Next to bomb the proceedings is the fake Russian Sasha (Claudia Shnier) with Benito (Patricio Ibarra) her cartoonish Russian filmmaker boyfriend for the moment.

Throw this lot into a slide show that hardly gets off the ground and the unannounced arrival of Neeve’s ex-boyfriend Mark (David Woodland), and what can go wrong?

The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley

The production suffers from its two strong themes competing with each other, leaving the script confusing at times and without an overall indication of where it’s going or what it is saying.

The performances overall are well drawn, with Claudia Shnier’s Sasha providing the right amount of energy and Cara Whitehouse having great moments of connection with the audience, particularly when she bursts into the song, “Here I Come”.

The Hero Leaves One Tooth. Photo – Clare Hawley

Meg Anderson’s inner city apartment set serves the many entrances and exits well while David Malloy’s video heightens the drama unfolding in this mundane setting.

Likewise for lighting designer, Jasmin Borsovsky’s work that highlights the mood changes and keeps the single set from getting stale.

While The Hero Leaves One Tooth may fail in parts, Ratcatch, bAKEHOUSE and KXT have mounted a play that is brave and unflinching in tackling contentious issues.

Until July 29

KXT on Broadway, 181 Broadway (cnr Mountain St), Ultimo

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