Posts Tagged ‘first world white girls





Judith Wright Centre & WIV

Judith Wright Centre Performance Space

March 17 – 19 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Tiffany (Judy Hainsworth) and Kendall (Caitlin Oliver Parker) have enjoyed a sold out debut season (2014), an enthusiastic reception at the Matilda Awards (2015), and a sold out Adelaide Fringe Festival run complete with four and a half star reviews (2016) before their return to the Judy this year.

I’m possibly the only person in the country to not rave about #FirstWorldWhiteGirls

These two incongruous characters introduce themselves as a trust fund princess and a wealthy husband’s trophy wife, yet they fret about paying off their credit cards. They LOL at the thought of op-shopping yet they wear vintage floral frocks, Grandma’s pearls and plain pumps (to hide a bad pedi? Mismatched Shellac? It makes no sense!). While it’s true that vintage fashion never really goes out of style if you know how to accessorise, it’s a bit rich to expect us to believe that these rich bitches would opt for 1950s Tupperware party hostess frocks rather than Kardashian branded (or, I love it but let’s face it, Kookai) once-seen-never-seen-again bodycons, contoured cheek bones, long silk lashes and perfectly Blow Dry Bar(ed) Hollywood hair.  


The setting is far from lavish, with pull-up banners, and token Pellegrino bottles and a Tiffany bag pre-set on a high table. From the outset I’m at odds with the conflicting elements of this production.   

#FirstWorldWhiteGirls looks and sounds like it wants to be an outrageous comedy – it sells itself as such – but it’s not as outrageously funny as it claims to be and it’s not nearly politically incorrect enough or sassy or crass enough, although it seems to satisfy the needs of at least half the second night audience. The first world white girl problems are the sort we see hashtagged on social media, and they’re basic and familiar and funny; you know, too hot without the air con on and too cold in it… But when we realise the girls are not reading the audience contributions (they appear to have the lines memorised), I feel cheated. I think the Tiffany bags have been switched! Perhaps at one stage of the tour they tried to read only the audience’s suggestions and it was difficult to decipher handwriting, or the first world problems just weren’t dramatic / problematic enough.


Another #FirstWorldWhiteGirl blunder is to have overlooked the need for an accompanist, surely a vital component of Cabaret? Without the musicianship and witty banter of a talented accompanist on stage – a Worboys, as we say (we literally say it aloud, i.e. “What they need is a Worboys!”) would be ideal – we politely sit through pre-recorded tracks, penned by Hainsworth and arranged by the seriously talented James Dobinson (was he unavailable? Unaffordable?), which slow the show, contributing to its clunky feel. A combination of original tunes (most are too long by a verse or two) and re-arrangements of popular songs leaves us without a singular style or theme to the show. The best musical number sheds light on labiaplasty and should set the tone for the rest of the show, but no. It’s a stroke of politically incorrect, hilarious genius that can’t be repeated. The girls close with an amusing number about the importance of acquiring the ultimate accessories: black babies to go with their new Mercedes, but the encore that follows this is subdued and Hainsworth barely whispers, “Thank you” before leaving the stage.

I’m so disappointed. Everything I experience is at odds with what I’d expected.

I’d like to see the stakes raised and bigger risks taken. I’d like to be horrified when I realise I recognise these girls, that sometimes I have to teach these girls! And drink with their mothers!


With a bit more vocal clout and genuine confidence in some more sophisticated material, Hainsworth and Parker will prove themselves even better performers. I wonder… (I wonder how much time this version of the production has had with Lewis Jones, who was passed the director’s hat by Cienda McNamara)… It seems as if a formula has worked in the past and no one feels the need to stray from it…well, clearly, with a history of sell-out shows, it works! But Cabaret and Comedy are evolving genres, which demand high stakes, compelling stories and convincing performances that must grow from authenticity, and the performers’ genuine connection with their character, the audience and each other. This hugely successful show, which will enjoy a regional tour of Queensland in April, is a missed opportunity artistically, and I’d love to see it stripped back and redeveloped to truly reflect the talents of these versatile performers, and the shallow world of the reality TV and social media obsessed, unapologetically self-possessed first world white girls in my neighbourhood.   



Matilda Award Nominations 2014


Well, we had a fun night recently, coming up with these noms for the most outstanding work in the Brisbane performing arts industry in 2014!


Celebrating more than 25 years of theatrical excellence in southeast Queensland, the awards have become a prestigious event on Brisbane’s arts calendar. Having added to the reputation of some of Australia’s best-established practitioners and companies, and many talented emerging artists, a Matilda Award remains a coveted honour. Not only is it a significant achievement in a professional artist’s individual career, it is also unique as the only official acknowledgment specifically for the work of local theatre practitioners.


The beauty of having ten judges is that, between us, we’ve have seen most productions (when five judges see a Queensland-made show it becomes eligible* for a Matilda Award) and we are able to argue politely and respectfully discuss the merits of each nominee. Between us we see almost everything.


If you’re an artist, producer or publicist, please continue to keep us informed. A Facebook event page invite is not going to make us mark your opening night in our calendars, but an emailed invitation will! Thank you to the companies and venue staff who send EARLY invites and remain flexible regarding dates (and our hot dates!), because quite often seasons  overlap or clash completely and it’s difficult to schedule attendance around real life and work as well (and it’s useful to have somebody with us who is a) happy to share the long drive, and b) open to some frank discussion about the show).

*To be eligible, theatre workers have to have made, in the judges’ opinion, a commitment to the State, for example, by either beginning their careers or living and working mainly here, or by having a strong identification with Queensland. This means that interstate actors who come here for one production are not eligible, nor are touring productions that do not originate in Queensland.

See you at Gardens Theatre on Monday March 9 2015!


6.30pm for 7.00pm

Hosted by
Lucas Stibbard & Neridah Waters

Special Guest Presenter
Wayne Blair

Entertainment by
Riva Soul
The Boy&Girl Performers
featuring Garret Lyon




There are five premium Matilda Awards, represented by gold trophies. A Gold Matilda is awarded for outstanding work in any area of the professional theatre industry, which also includes independent productions. These awards may be for a single work in the preceding year or for a body of work.

In addition to the five Gold Matildas, there are 12 Silver Matilda Award categories:



Best Mainstage Production
A Doll‘s House, La Boite Theatre Company
Gloria, Queensland Theatre Company
Macbeth, Queensland Theatre Company in association with The Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe
Pale Blue Dot, La Boite Theatre Company


Best Independent Production
Angel Gear, La Boite Indie & Pentimento Productions
with the support of QPAC
The Button Event, Brisbane Festival & Queensland Theatre Company
Machina, La Boite Indie & MadCat Creative Connections
with the support of QPAC
Sex with Strangers, Jennifer Flowers, Thomas Larkin & Brisbane Powerhouse




Best Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nicholas Gell, Hedonism’s Second Album
Thomas Larkin, Sex With Strangers
Hugh Parker, A Doll’s House
Sven Swenson, Angel Gear


Best Female Actor in a Leading Role
Helen Christinson, A Doll’s House
Veronica Neave, Sex with Strangers
Christen O’Leary, Gloria
Naomi Price, Wrecking Ball


Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Chris Beckey, A Doll’s House
Damien Cassidy, A Doll’s House
Chris Kellett, Spamalot
Steven Rooke, Gloria


Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Julie Anthony, Spamalot
Caroline Kennison, Pale Blue Dot
Cienda McNamara, A Doll’s House
Casey Woods, Angel Gear




Best Director
David Bell, Gloria
Steven Mitchell Wright, A Doll’s House
Callum Mansfield, Cats
Tim O’Connor, Spamalot
Dave Sleswick, Or Forever Hold Your Peace


Best Design (Set and costumes)
Bill Haycock, Gloria
Josh McIntosh, Spamalot
Steven Mitchell Wright, Ben Hughes & Nathalie Ryner, Caligula
Simone Romaniuk, Macbeth


Best Technical Design (Lighting, multimedia and sound design)
optikal bloc, The Mountaintop
optikal bloc, Pale Blue Dot
Ben Knapton, Nathan Sibthorpe & Freddy Komp, He Dreamed a Train
Guy Webster, The Button Event


Bille Brown Award for the Best Emerging Artist
Casey Woods, Angel Gear
Ashlee Lollback, Pale Blue Dot
Elijah Wellsmore, Gloria
Eliah Watego, Black Diggers


The Lord Mayor’s Award for Best New Australian Work
Adam Brunes & Naomi Price, Wrecking Ball
Richard Jordan, Machina
Kathryn Marquet, Pale Blue Dot
Sven Swenson, Angel Gear




Best Musical or Cabaret
Wrecking Ball, the little red company, developed with Brisbane Powerhouse
Cats, Harvest Rain Theatre Company
Spamalot, Harvest Rain Theatre Company
Good-bye Miss Monroe, Grayboy Entertainment