Posts Tagged ‘wogs in love

18
Jul
17

Wogs In Love

Wogs In Love

4Stage Productions

Judith Wright Centre Performance Space

July 6 – 14 2017

 

Reviewed by Claire Harding

 

Wogs_in_Love

 

Two star-crossed lovers from different backgrounds are destined to be together, but there’s problem… Anna’s father Niko.

 

Wogs in Love premiered at the Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane this month, the first offering by Brisbane playwright Greg Andreas. Originally written in 1986, it was lost and then rewritten for today’s audiences, which explains why it feels somewhat dated, although the topics of racism and assimilation into multicultural Australia are still relevant. It is the third offering by newly established Brisbane Theatre Company, 4 Stage Productions, and it’s an ambitious piece, which could have benefitted from further work to help refine and carve out the golden moments, as the actors seem to struggle to find the motivation for their characters. Given the general high standard of Brisbane theatre at the moment, this leaves the piece feeling less than the polished and professional product expected.

The story is centred around a Greek family who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their culture in a modern Australian setting. The younger members feel constrained by their patriarchies expectations; that Greek is better and that they are expected to associate with, and in Anna’s case marry someone from their own culture before moving back to the idealised mother land. Anna (Melanie Bolovan) has other ideas and is in love with a ‘Skippy’ David (William Toft). Both performers bring their youthful energy to the piece. Anna’s father Nico (Colin Smith), despite his best efforts, is unable to change and allow his children to have control of their own destiny. His love for his homeland and his frustration at losing his traditions and control of his family, builds to a climactic racist rant against all other cultures.

There are humorous moments with Costa, Anna’s simpleton brother (Carl Figueiredo) and her mother (Katrina Devery), who had good comic timing and some funny asides to her family. David’s Australian parents (Andrea O’Halloran and Tony Nixon), were just as simplistic and racist towards anyone outside of their own ‘bogan’ culture, which added to both the comedy and tragedy of the piece.

Most of the laughs were for the silent Greek grandmother (Johansee Theron); a permanent fixture on the couch whose slight movements and observations throughout the piece made for some funny moments. However, the anticipation to hear her speak was dashed, as her musings were not as profound or impactful as expected, leaving the audience disappointed at a lacklustre conclusion.    

The costumes, setting and split staging invited the audience into the period and the character’s homes, but failed to capture the vibrancy of the time, and was confused by the addition of the 1950’s fridge. With further work, this production would improve, but in its current state, it’s an ambitious choice for a fledgling company who have had so much success until this point. Let’s see what they offer next. 

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