Fringe World review: Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden, created and performed by Anna Thomson, directed by Sarah Ward ·
The Studio at the Blue Room Theatre, February 22 ·
Review: Suzanne Ingelbrecht ·
This is such a clever multi-layered show. Its creator/solo performer, Anna Thomson, emerges fully formed as a Biggles hybrid from the cocoon of a black plastic bag. She’s oh-so-happy to be in a lovely garden but annoyed at that pesky fly buzzing around her face, moving swiftly to despatch it to fly heaven. After all, there are so many more wonders to enjoy in this Garden of Eden: a beautiful white dress, pretty shoes, a pink beehive wig – what more could a gal want? But to dress up and become Snow White, of course, who joyfully sings along with the animals, only to kick ass the birds, even a horse, to kingdom come. What’s a gal to do except feel happy, when nature succumbs to her every destructive whim?
As audience we’re in on the laughs but some of us can decipher the deeper significance of Thomson’s sleight of hand here. Gender fluidity, the beauty industry, warfare, consumerism and mountains of plastic. They’re all up for Thomson’s particular brand of performance intelligence.
Before I came into the Blue Room Studio space, I’d been listening to radio reports of Australian tourists complaining about the pervasive and disgusting sight of garbage on Bali beaches, completely unreflecting on their own parts as players, on all of us as the problem. We create and use the plastic that’s destroying the ‘good woman’, our mother, our Earth. Thomson the clown showed the plastic in all its myriad guises – even as plastic ball (‘drop it and you’re fucked’). When she demonically pierced it, the ball became yet another plastic bag to be dumped with her Twisties bags and Mars bar packets all over the beautiful pristine beach.
Drop it and we’re all fucked…
Thomson is beguiling and sharp as a pin. Madame Nightshade’s Poison Garden is wonderful satire for those who get the point that we are all trashing our planet in our own shit just as quickly as ever we can.
Top: Thomson is beguiling and sharp as a pin. Photo: Ranson Media.