Friday 25 November 2016

What's Yours Is Mine - Theatre Review

What: What's Yours Is Mine
Where: The Butterfly Club
When: 22 Nov - 4 Dec
Directed by: Yvonne Virsik
Performed by: Hayden Burke, Simone French, and Tom Halls
Designed by: Owen Phillips
Stage Managed by: Anastasia Ryan

Hayden Burke, Simone French and Tom Halls - photo by Theresa Harrison

What's Yours Is Mine is a hilarious show being presented at The Butterfly Club as part of the Poppyseed Festival. Not quite agit-prop, not quite drama, not quite sketch comedy, this devised show is a mix of side-splitting laughter and pierced through the heart social commentary. It is angry, it is loving, it is self-deriding, and it is 'not to be missed' theatre.

Are you following the Australian dream? Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Do you even know what it looks like anymore? These are the questions constantly being interrogated in What's Yours Is Mine.

You may remember Syd, Millie, and Olly from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Well, they have come together for a reunion and have decided to take a road trip into the red heart of this Lucky Country. As they set off on this adventure, Team Australia find out what is to be Australian and to 'live the dream' in 2016.

Appearing as a bright shining light (not the one you follow when you are dying...or is it?) they reach for it each in their own unique ways. In a hilarious slo-mo movement montage their battle to outrace each other begins like something very similar to the zombie scene in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video.

The show looks at everything - indigenous issues, LGBTI issues, the environment, feminism, wealth, politics, immigration, etc.  Normally I would say it covers too much but this show is so perfectly crafted it demonstrates how every single one of these issues works on us all every moment of every day.

The big issue, however, is ownership. One of the essential aspects of our country's dream is ownership - ownership of property, ownership of animals, ownership of people, ownership of ideas, and ownership of land. One of the most wonderful moments in the show is when we all get our very own piece of land to own and hold. You will get your very own first hand experience of what it is to live this aspect of the Australian dream.

The big point of the show is looking at how reality is always a distortion of the aspiration. Or perhaps the aspiration is a distortion of reality. What really happens when you get that dream? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What do you become as you live it? Is it a comfortable fit? Does it mold to you or do you mold to it? Also - who's dream is it really?

A few moments don't quite work. 'Olly, Olly, Olly. Oi. Oi. Oi' is one of the cracker skits of the night, but many of the TV game show segments fall flat. This is not so much because of the content. I just think game shows don't resonate anymore because they have become their own parody. (You can't tell me Grant Denyer isn't taking the piss every night...). Then again, on some meta level this speaks to the themes as well.

French's quest for beauty, fame, and the male gaze is a painful moment in a sea of laughs, as is Burke's end of life decision. Hall's portrayal as the gay friend is so honest and yet so castigating it stings... like a friendly slap on the face to wake us up.

French, Burke, and Halls are VCA theatre graduates, and are exactly what the theatre course has been training their actors to become over the last few years. The three of them work together to devise shows and be independent artists. All graduating in the same year they have formed their own company, Hotel Now, and they produce their own work such as What's Yours Is Mine whilst also maintaining independent acting careers. All of them have the energy and precision and the kind of risk taking we have come to associate with VCA graduates.

What's Yours Is Mine is a must see and a hilarious night out. This show will get you in the right head space for summer and drag you out of your winter blues in a brilliant flash of golds, reds, greens, and blues. What could be more Australian than that?

4.5 Stars.

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