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Review: Bright World

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Earlier this week, Art Smitten’s theatre reporter Ebony Beaton saw Bright World by the Arthur Theatre company. The review was read aloud on our 17th April show by hosts Christian and Andrew.

I would call Bright World a meta-comdey-drama. It plays with genre and narrative and bends them out of shape to create something that I found very unique.

This play, written by Andrea James and Elise Hearst, explores what it is to be Aboriginal and what it is to be Jewish, it explores the past of both these backgrounds and what it is like to live in contemporary Australia, the play also explores the writers shared history of oppression, Elise is Jewish and Andrea is indigenous, this is often spoken about and explored in the play, and acts as a mechanism for conflict, scenes often showing the tension between Andrea and Elise.

Andreas is related to William Cooper an Aboriginal activist who during the second world war protested the treatment of the Jewish people that was happening in Germany, Elise bought them together to make a play about this, and this show portrays their journey in creating this piece.

The ensemble is made of 5 performers including the writers themselves along side Kevin Kiernan-Molloy, Shari Sebbens, Guy Simon.

They explore the past and investigate the present and the future a number of different ways, there are stylized scenes portraying a Jewish past and an indigenous past based of the writers family history, they also have very meta-theatrical scenes involving the creation of the piece and the conflict that arose between Andrea and Elise.

The ensemble cast was very engaging and beautiful to watch, they all delivered powerful performances. The direction by Paige Rattray was interesting and unique, it was try stylistic and surreal.

The set was a half basketball court the design by Romanie Harper was very realistic and sharp, it was very aesthetically pleasing to see, although I didn’t quite understand the metaphor, perhaps it was drawing parallels between cultural difference and the sporting arena as a battle ground? But I’m still not sure. Overall I had a great time at Bright World, but it did have it flaws for me personally. It explored these themes very intellectually, which in a way is really great, but it left the emotional elements of the play having less impact. I would have loved to see more of the stylized scenes portraying the ancestor’s of the writers, which I felt was the strongest, most moving parts of the play. But overall, I really did enjoy the play.

Bright World will be playing at Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street St Kilda 13th – 30th April. 

Review written by Ebony Beaton

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