Three aggressive looking women, dressed in 1950s costumes, on a stage, behind microphones
Fringe World, News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

A gleeful sump

Fringe World review: Spooky Rainbows, The Violent Years (1956) ·
The Blue Room Theatre as part of Summer Nights, 20 January ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

A late night spot on a blistering Sunday night at Fringe World makes for a tough room to fill – even if the show is part of the Blue Room’s crowd-pulling Summer Nights programme.

Not that the cast of Rachel Kerry’s The Violent Years (1956) ain’t up for it; when you’re playing three teenage schoolgirl hoodlums in a stage musical version of Ed Wood’s truly awful exploitation flick of the same title and year you’ve gotta be.

The movie is a gleeful sump, swirling adolescent boredom, crime, sex and anarchy into a nasty brew designed to offend every complacent, puritanical atom of 1950s America, as leader of the pack Paula and her Violent Girls – Phyliss, Georgia and Geraldine – go on a rampage and pay for it with their lives.

Kerry has brought it pretty much intact, albeit abridged, to the stage, along with some high-octane original songs that work from rockabilly to Joan Jett and riot grrrl (“Ever Feel Like Fucking Shit Up?” the highlight, if only for its title).

There’s a lot of Cry Baby about it, some Heathers too, and it’s all a bit of fun, even if the points it’s making are mostly lost in the mash-up.

And it’s not a show for a quiet late-night Sunday in front of a dozen punters.

The Violent Years (1956) plays The Blue Room Theatre until January 26.

Pictured top (from left to right): Billie Miles as Phyllis, Lucy Green as Geraldine and Elsa J Cherlin as Georgia. “The Violent Years”. Photo: Rachel Kerry.

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