Monday 6 November 2023

Orlando review

First published in 1928, Virginia Woolf's Orlando spans three centuries and tells the story of a poet who changes sex from male to female. Roughly 95 years to its release, Antipodes Theatre Company present a retelling of Orlando as an electro-folk musical adaptation of Woolf's groundbreaking work.

Written by Rachel Lewindon and Willow Sizer, this reimagining is restrained yet ambitious. There is a focus on access and representation in the cast - both on and off stage - and the performers have combined their own lived experiences into the source material. This has been done with great care and attention to the narrative that feels like it belongs as part of the story and not just wedged in.

Margot Fenley and Maude Davey display an unerring eye as co-directors in allowing the cast of five - Marty Alix, Louie Dalzell, Manali Datar, Kikki Temple and Sizer - to have their individual talents and skills be acknowledged but ensuring that all the Orlandos are coming from the one mind. Sizer in particular leaves a lasting impression in their portrayal but also in the supporting role of Sasha the Russian princess.

Bethany J Fellows’ costume design also contributes to this, with the cast dressed in different attire but all wearing a shade of red in their ensemble. Items such as hiking boots and headlights, also hint at a sense of discovery and exciting new experiences waiting for Orlando. Fellow's set design has a small pool surrounded by rocks and along with Evan Drill's sound design and John Collopy's lighting design, this environment becomes expansive, intimate and full of secrets to uncover.

Lewindon's composition and musical direction, which includes herself and fellow musician Imogen Cygler brings live piano, keyboard and violin together with pre-recorded music that enables the narrative to play out with originality and surprises.

Antipodes Theatre Company's Orlando is a mesmerising production that shines a light on queer identity, gender, race and colonisation in a contemporary context that gives the original Orlando the opportunity to remain relevant and span even more time than its initial three centuries.

Show Details

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: until 11 November | Tues - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5:00pm
Duration: 80 minutes
Tickets: $55 Full | $45 Concession
Bookings: fortyfivedowstairs

Image Credit:
3 Fates Media

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