by Wayne Tunks
Directed by Jessica Fallico and Wayne Tunks
Depot Theatre until June 17
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. What could be more Australian?
At the same level of Australian-ness is Bitch, currently playing at The Depot Theatre in Marrickville.
If you Google the term, “bogans”, you might see a picture of the Posts. The suburban family consists of Emma (Claire Johnston), a virginal seventeen-year-old schoolgirl who is “ready”, her gay twin brother, Clint (Nick Sinclair), who is undecided about his true gender, their supportive mother, Robyn (Emma Louise), and their Uncle Jimmy (Wayne Tunks) who is still not over a traumatic experience that occurred twenty-five years ago. I’m not saying that you’d find families like The Posts in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, but if I did, you’d understand the reference.
The matriarch is Julie, a grumpy, bigoted, intolerant, sexist, alcoholic, racist old bag who divides the family. In this role, Felicity Burke is masterful. Her character has been given some of the juiciest, more colourful dialogue and her comedic timing is impeccable. It was a bit like a certain former Prime Minister being interviewed. As she is about to speak, you cringe in anticipation as you think, “what’s she going to say this time?”
Added to the dynamic is Clint’s Eurasian schoolmate and boyfriend, Reid (Jasper Lee-Lindsay), Emma’s chauvinistic, one-dimensional boyfriend, Matt (Anton Smilek) and Fiona (Amy Victoria Brooks), Robyn’s retail store boss who takes a shine, literally, to Jimmy.
It’s always a worry when the playwright is also the director and in the cast, but Co-Director Jessica Fallico has tempered the possible self-indulgence.
The dramatic scene near the end of the second act balances everything out perfectly. If you’re offended by coarse language in context, you might need cover your ears.
Bitch is a thoroughly enjoyable production and you will definitely recognise some, if not all of the characters. You might even be one of them.