Shopping Centres and Gutters

8 Nov

People go to the theatre for all sorts of reasons. For me, one of the greatest attractions is the insight it offers into how the world is viewed by others. If we’re asked our values we’re often lost for words. It’s hard to sum up our worldview in a few pithy sentences. It’s like asking a fish to describe the ocean. [Feel free to test the truth of this analogy.] But when we make theatre, we consciously -or unconsciously- create a picture of how we think the world is, or an intimation of how we think it should be.

Valentino Musico’s new play Shopping Centres and Gutters presents contemporary Sydney as a city soaked in class-consciousness. It’s not a piece of naturalism. The characters, who hail from both the eastern and western suburbs, are stereotypes. Or are they? That, for me, was the power of the piece. Musico’s play asks us to question whether we really are, or should be, defined by envy and shallowness.

The director, Ira Hal Seidenstein, draws engaging performances from his entire ensemble. The highlights are Aaron Di Pietro and Letitia Sutherland’s blistering satirical battles.

Reviews can be fascinating to read because, like plays, they’re a short cut to understanding the values of others. I can’t resist at this point referring to another reviewer’s response to Shopping Centres and Gutters. I call it a response, because as he admits, he didn’t write a review, having left at intermission. The reason given: “The Tap Gallery is a charming venue. However, it is not equipped to call itself a true theatre”. You could spend a long time thinking about what that last phrase means – and amuse yourself that it was elicited by a play about snobbery.

Veronica Kaye

Shopping Centres and Gutters

Until 19 Nov

TAP Gallery, Darlinghurst

http://tapgallery.org/category/shows/

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