My friend Kate (read her short stories here) told me about this production of Sleeping Beauty at the Malthouse: “it’s got Renee Geyer in it! It’ll be great!” We went along on Tuesday.
It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was all music, no dialogue – and all of it was pop songs (some of which, to my shame, I didn’t recognise). Things like “Little Ray of Sunshine,” “Oh Happy Day,” and “Dreamer.” And “All the boys in town,” by the Divinyls, which I heard on the radio a couple of days later and had to turn off… because I am still a bit too traumatised by the performance to be able to hear that song, in particular, without having flashbacks. Because Beauty (played by Alison Bell, brilliant) sang it as a lament, almost (which is entirely appropriate to the words), and it was so sad.
So the performance starts with a mum and dad wanting a daughter… getting one… doting on her and her getting annoyed at the attention.* Then… something happens, and she either goes back in time or to another world. Weird things happen there. Like Geyer singing a song that is either Eminem or 50 Cent, which was perhaps the weirdest thing of a weird night. That, and the anime section in the middle. I don’t know whether it was anime produced for the performance or not – I would guess not, that it was sections from at least one if not multiple pre-existing films, spliced together for this.
The set was sparse, and they used light to brilliant effect. The performances were all magnificent. And the music was great – apparently one of the people involved was from Boom Crash Opera which, you know, just makes it all good from my point of view. It was a breath-taking performance… and I am still not sure what happened at the end.
*This is my interpretation of it. I am perfectly willing to admit that there are aspects that I simply didn’t get, so my putting it together may be faulty.