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Theatre Review | Not Now, Not Ever: A Parliament of Women


theatre reviews sydney

Created and Directed by Margaret Thanos

Belvoir Downstairs until March 31


Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP


Not Now, Not Ever: A Parliament of Women has opened at Belvoir Street Downstairs. Prax thinks the world is f*cked and wants to start a rebellion to take down CCorp. Meanwhile, Athena wants to take over the Pantheon from Zeus. They decide to unite to take over Olympus and Australia, but Australian politics is more complicated than it seems. 


The play is based on Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy Assemblywomen which was first written and performed in 391BC. In that play, a young woman called Praxagora convinces the rest of the women in her town to dress up as men and infiltrate parliament. There are many interpretations that can be applied to the original work. Aristophanes might have been making a point against the idea of women working in the Parliament and mocking it, stating that even women could be doing a better job than their current leaders.


Theatre Reviews Sydney

When Aunty (Ava Madon), a soothsayer, tea-leaf reader, Madame Arcati type made her larger-than-life entrance followed by a bunch of other colourful characters with props I thought that we might have been in for a weird, warped interpretation of Play School.


As it turned out, there were parallel battles for power between Athena and Zeus (Rachael Colquhoun-Fairweather) on Olympus, and Prax and Husband (Matt Abotomey) in Australia.  


In this production there was no expense spent; the set and most of the props were made out of brown cardboard, which held a certain appeal. 


The script was a collaborative effort, with the cast members all pitching in. 


As Athena, Richard Helliar could not have been more like the outstanding Australian cross-dressing performer Reuben Kaye


When Emma O’Sullivan was dressed as Prax’s male politician character she facially resembled Eric Idle.


Other characters included Hannah Raven as Dio, the overtly sexual campaign manager, Clay Crighton as the mercurial Hermes and Idam Sindhi as Yiayia.


Then there was Lib Campbell as the cute and quirky Gora the goat who possibly has Asberger’s. Wasn’t sure why she wore tap shoes on the cardboard stage floor. Gora is similar to The Fool in King Lear in that she was sometimes the only one who made sense in an environment of insanity, and sent up the other characters.


There were some interesting moments (sex with the goat)  in this production and the pool of young talent was impressive.


Belvoir theatre sydney

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