NEON Festival of Independent Theatre
The Sovereign Wife
12 July 2013
to 21 July
Australian epic theatre? Cloudstreet, When the rain stops falling and Secret River can get fucked because The Sovereign Wife is the definitive piece of Australian theatre.
It's about an Irish woman's struggle to find herself and a community in gold-rush Victoria. If it were an 80s epic tv mini series, it would star Sigrid Thornton. It doesn't.
On 12 July 2013, the Sisters Grimm opened at the Melbourne Theatre Company. It was already selling well, but was sold out by lunchtime on 13 July. When too much of our world is trying to pull us back to conservative, straight, repressive and vanilla-essence boring, this is a sign that the world IS changing for the better.
Declan Greene and Ash Flander's Sisters Grimm have sold out their debut MTC season!
The most middle-class, middle-aged elitist company in town have a sold out a show by the queerest, trashiest, filthiest, camp-punk company in town.
Even if the Sydney Theatre Company grabbed them earlier this year, the last time Melbourne saw a Sister's show, it was in a backyard shed (Summertime in the Garden of Eden) and the ones before that were in the freezing cement car park of the Collingwood public housing flats (Little Mercy, Cellblock Booty). It felt wrong going to a Sisters' show in theatre clothes and knowing that the interval wine was going to come in a glass.
And last night, while the nice theatre goers politely clapped The Crucible in the big MTC theatre, the downstairs studio erupted in a standing, stomping and squealing ovation for a show that insults everyone and subverts so many genders, races, sexualities, body shapes, cultures, sub-cultures and bloody Aussie icons that I'm not going to ruin a second of it for those lucky enough to have tickets.
Greene, Flanders and their glorious company's fingers are so on the zeitgeist that the zeitgeist is screaming in multi-orgasmic bliss and begging to have a moment to recompose itself.
The Sovereign Wife is beautiful, and atrocious, and sexy as all fuck. It's almost too smart for it's own good and the cast need a new lot of adjectives to describe their fuck-you-aussie-aussie-aussie awesomeness. So put the MTC box office number on your phone now because there might be an extra show and when the announcement comes, the MTC switchboard will explode.
PS: I loved When the rain stops falling and will never forget the look Declan Greene gave me when he realised that I wasn't joking when I said so.
Photo by Theresa K Harrison
This won't be on AT, but I hope to write a complex and arty discussion some time this week.