Blue Saint Productions
Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre
October 21 – 25 2015
Reviewed by Katelyn Panagiris
Guilty Pleasures is an exciting new Australian musical written by Josh Robson with music by Hugo Chiarella and Robert Tripolino.
The performance opens with a suitcase filled stage, four-piece band and the magnetic Angelique Cassimatis entering from side stage. We watch in the opening musical act as the veneer of a saccharine domestic goddess slowly cracks and the blood begins to pour. Throughout the performance we hear about each horrifying act against ‘man’, guiltily laughing, again and again and again.
Guilty Pleasures is a one-woman musical following several individual characters from Brooklyn to quiet suburbia, all driven to murder by an unfaithful, abusive or lying men. While the musical aspect of the performance The text is engaging and well crafted by writer Josh Robson who draws on recognisable situations to deliver an entertaining series of stories ending with an inevitable bang of a gun or slash of a knife. It almost feels like an extended version of Chicago’s ‘We both reached for the gun’, complete with a 1920s setting and thick American accents. Evidently there is quite a dark, morbid side to all of this folly, and it is interesting to take a moment to consider what an ‘empowered’ woman looks like in today’s age.
Angela Cassimatis’ simply brilliant vocal and physical performance is no doubt the highlight of Guilty Pleasures.
Cassimatis transforms flawlessly from one character to the next, providing a nuanced identity to each aggravated, but ultimately powerful, woman. Every aspect of Cassimatis’ performance is electric. Even the short transitions between scenes are engaging to watch, filled with choreography by Amy Campbell and jazz music courtesy of the live band. The overt theatricality of the performance further adds to the fun of Guilty Pleasures. Props emerge unexpectedly from suitcases and later become set pieces, while the lighting design clearly and cleverly marks shifts in time, space and character.
Guilty Pleasures is an entertaining new musical that shines like a knife dripping with blood. While you may not leave the performance humming a new catchy tune, you will leave relishing in your own guilty pleasure.