Five women laughing and hugging
News, Performing arts, Reviews, Theatre

New play packs a powerful punch

Review: Charlotte Otton, Let Me Finish ·
The Blue Room Theatre, 11 October ·
Review by Claire Trolio ·

Bold, brash and powerfully feminist, Let Me Finish is the kind of theatre we need. Written by Charlotte Otton, directed by Phoebe Sullivan, and devised and performed by five women in their 20s (Otton, Izzy McDonald, Angela Mahlatjie, Jess Moyle and Ana Ika), it is a hilarious and heartbreaking look at the experience of being a young woman in contemporary Australian society.

The play doesn’t try to represent all female/female identifying experience; the point – and power – of Let Me Finish is that it does not speak for other people. Yet at the same time the stories that are told tap into the shared experience of women in Australia, addressing, too, the intersections of race and sexuality with gender.

Five women dance in a club, having a great time until – incrementally – their space is invaded by various men. The clever twist to this opening scene is that the men are unseen. We recognise their existence only through the reactions of the women, who deploy physical and verbal techniques that are achingly familiar.

A bathroom exchange is full of laugh-out-loud one-liners; we’re instantly welcomed into the private lives of these women. This intimacy continues throughout the play’s hour duration, as the women perform, both as themselves and as other characters, in a combination of vignettes, storytelling and even an audience-driven game. In the background a romance blossoms.

These women are here, taking up space, making noise and not hiding elements of their personalities that are traditionally devalued. They are strong as well as shy, proud, kind, aggressive and much, much more. They are refreshingly real people with real lives, feelings and experiences. Even when the performers embody exaggerated versions of female stereotypes with escalating absurdity, the show is warm, inclusive and empowering. There are no apologies.

It’s a collaborative effort, and all five performers shine so very brightly.

The empowerment is contagious. It’s a punch in the face of the patriarchy and the result is that everybody wins.

Buy your tickets right away.

Let Me Finish plays The Blue Room Theatre until October 20.

Pictured top (L-R) are Ana Ika, Charlotte Otton, Angela Mahlatjie, Izzy McDonald and Jess Moyle in ‘Let Me Finish’. Photo: Susie Blatchford.

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