Friday 2 February 2024

Overflow review (Midsumma festival)

Rosie has locked herself in a nightclub bathroom after catching the eyes of some transphobic attackers. In Travis Alabanza's Overflow, Rosie uses this time to assert her place in this world while looking at past encounters and friendships and the impact they continue to have on her.

Janet Anderson carries the production with grace and prowess in her portrayal of Rosie. From the opening minutes of this 70 minute monologue, she provides a deeply understanding and confident representation of who this person is - having most likely gone through these experiences herself - with everything she says coming from a place of anger, fear, warmth and hope.

Director and set designer Dino Dimitriadis presents an authentic nightclub bathroom construction with its cold, sterile steel design. The entire set sits on a raised platform with plenty of empty space between the stage and the audience, which further heightens the confinement Rosie feels. Dimitriadis' direction of Anderson utilises every inch of the bathroom and through the accomplished lighting design by Benjamin Brockman and sound design by Danni Esposito, we are given the opportunity to see this space in surprising and exciting ways.

Brockman's harsh bathroom lights leave nowhere for Rosie to hide from as she begins to share her life with us. The smooth transitions from that to coloured, flashing club lights are intelligently executed, and a single spotlight during a flashback of student interrogations about who is flooding the toilets at school keeps us simultaneously in the past and present settings. Esposito’s sound design is an example of how less can be so much more as we are transported through Rosie's various memories and recreations of her life.

This is an enthralling production by a team of creatives who have worked together with a unified vision to tell a story where transgender people are constantly forced to fight for their right to simply be, in every facet of their life. Overflow is a powerful and timely reminder to cis people that an ally is more than just a word and it's a reminder for transgender and gender nonconforming people about how strong they are and can be.

Show Details

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Rd, Southbank

Season: until 4 February | Fri/Sat 7:30pm, Sat 3pm, Sun 5pm
70 minutes

Tickets: $49 - $59
Bookings: Arts Centre Melbourne

Image credit: Robert Catto

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