Friday 28 June 2019

I Really Don't Care - Melbourne Cabaret Festival review

Melania Trump. The First Lady of the United States of America. The wife of Donald Trump. A model. What else do we know about her though? Presented as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Ron Elisha’s I Really Don't Care is a confessional cabaret in which Melania shares her inner most thoughts, desires and dreams, without concern for any repercussions.

Performer Kate Yaxley puts in a strong effort in her portrayal, but you can’t help but notice how terribly miscast she is for this role. While I don’t know Yaxley’s age, she is far too young to be playing a woman nearing 50 years of age and her appearance – particularly her hair colour and style – does not match that of Melania’s. Yaxley’s Melania is animated and lively, something we don’t see from her in public and while it’s fine to do this, some explanation as to why she is like that needs to be clearer. If you’re going to create a piece of theatre on a living person, (unless it's explicitly stated why) there needs to be some resemblance to that person, and in this case both appearance and personality do not match what we have seen and come to know about the First Lady.

The writing endeavours to bring out some truths about why Melania has made the choices she has made and what it's like being married to a man she apparently detests, but it gets stuck in shooting off a series of dick jokes, along with three references to “pussy grabbing”. It isn’t funny the first time, and it certainly isn’t funny by the third. At one point, Elisha attempts to be unflinching with his exploration of the First Lady by having her commenting on the skin colour of previous President, Barack Obama, which is more misguided and awkward than edgy or funny.

Crafting a cabaret around a person who seems to be quite an enigma is never going to be an easy task. Whether her mysteriousness makes her story lack depth or realism, or her story just isn’t very interesting, I Really Don't Care struggles to retain the attention of its audience. By the end of the show, Melania has found a new found confidence and ready to step out on her own. By the end of the show, I really don't care. 

Venue: Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran
Season: until 29 June| 6:00pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $32 Concession
Bookings: Chapel Off Chapel

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