Banned @ The Blue Room
Director: Helie Turner
Playwright: Barbara Hostalek
Production House: Mudskipper Productions
Cast: Della Rae-Morrison, Talei Howell-Price, Kingsley Judd
You’ve probably heard it before. It’s a sunny Sunday. The smell of snags on a barbie and baked meat pies wafting through the grounds (which usually bear the name of an honored local scion), the boys with the guernseys and the club song blasting through the jury-rigged loudspeakers. The sun is getting warmer and sweat is forming on the brows. The blows of whistles and the occasional thud of a heavy punt from outside the 50 metre mark. Crowds cheer, crowds boo and hiss, as the game begins to close towards the fourth quarter. A small argument in the stands, and in one moment, voices are raised, fists are swung, and the deed is done.
Banned takes this cultural touchstone as the basis of its narrative. In a kind of reverse (budget, low-key) depiction of that famous play, The Club. The story focuses on two women, Jane (Howell-Price), and Kaarla (Rae-Morrison who hold a grudge against each other for what happened on one day at the footy and the resulting aftermath, and a mediator with a tendency to go off-tangent (in a comical Scottish accent) who tries to work out a hopefully amicable solution.
The play’s narrative is simple, and straight forward- earnest, but nothing out of the ordinary, and delivered in the kind of brevity that can be appreciated on its own merit, and the underlying social commentary is thankfully in the background rather than made into a central point. The comical Scottish accent of the mediator provides many laughs and much needed comic relief. However, the dialogue at times seems to be more aimed directly at the audience, in a slight preaching, moralistic note, than it would make any sense in the context of the story.
Other than that, its a decent, humble and earnest piece, and thank (insert divine being) does not try to be pretentious (which in my opinion, is no mean feat of its own).
Banned runs until the 10th of February.