RAW: Africa by My Darling Patricia – Space – Til 14th May – 4K

It is refreshing to see a theatrical work that focuses on the realities of home grown Australian domestic life rather than the usual struggles of refugees or indigenous Australia. Refreshing but sobering.

It is perhaps a coincidence only that Africa opens in Adelaide in the same week or so as Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys does on the ABC and the movie Snowtown gets launched. Each paints in different ways a highly troubling picture of suburbia.

A young woman in her late 20s, Jules (Jodie Le Vesconte) has three children under her care but a desire to sustain an obligation free lifestyle. Her occasional beau, Brad (Anthony Ahern) flits in and out of her and the children’s lives, with their interests and needs long last on the list of priorities. The children (as puppets) are entranced by a TV documentary about Africa and wish to go there, for the freedoms, excitement, love and for its partial resemblance to the bleak life they lead. In time, the savagery of the jungle plays out in their own cluttered living room.

The puppetry is of the highest order and the stage and lighting constructed skilfully to give the children a human touch. Certainly by the end one is very touched by the plight of the eldest of them, Mika. The interplay between the puppets and the humans is also a masterstroke, very believable and credible.

Africa is a surprisingly short play (just more than an hour) but it pacts a punch that is both haunting and hopeful. For the world beyond the indulgences of new sports stadiums for the elite, Africa is the place to go.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

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