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REVIEW: SUDS' "Framed: A Spoofnographic Visual Digest of Australian Truth"

REVIEW: SUDS' "Framed: A Spoofnographic Visual Digest of Australian Truth"

If you’re like me and you just don’t get theatre, then Framed is a play for you.

Centred around the enigmatic Corey Worthington, the play is set in 2058. Future Corey Worthington explains to his grandson the moments that defined the 2008 Australian zeitgeist.

Flashing back-and-forth from past-to-present, the play is a pastiche of memories that forms the collective history of the nation. It’s an homage to Australiana, the things that define a decade.

The set design is simple, a single hills hoist which OBVIOUSLY represents the cyclical nature of the zeitgeist. The key is the script and cast’s attention to detail that brings on pure nostalgia.

Remember that feeling of taking a bite into a party pie that’s just that little bit too hot and ooze of the mince scalding your tongue? How about the way you pined over those Faber Castell Connector Pen prizes broadcast on Saturday Disney each week? Remember “NO HAT, NO PLAY, NO FUN TODAY?”

In moments throughout the show you could be forgiven for thinking you are in Sydney Theatre Company’s Roslyn Packer Theatre instead of Sydney University’s Cellar Theatre. The cast is small, but each member carries the responsibility of each character they play with gravitas. A notable performance from the cast members in their commitment to smothering poo (read: chocolate) over their bodies in a scene about that one time a family ate faeces at the Coogee Bay Hotel.

A special mention to Hannah Heyen for her uncanny performance as Corey Worthington and to Helen Smith for her character work of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard in her interpretive dance accompanied by Missy Higgins’ The Special Two. Such a performance could only foreshadow the pattern of back-stabbings and spills that would plague our nations politics. Finally, Tre Blinkhorn must be congratulated for his impactful role even though I am not quite sure whether he is even old enough to be in a university production.

Sometimes running more like a sketch comedy show rather than a play, the quirk and playfulness of the play must be attributed to brains of the writers Ruby Blinkhorn and Kate Bubalo. No one else can seamlessly tie in lyrics from The Fray’s How to Save a Life and Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love in a scene about a war between humans and emus. Additionally, the directorship of Rachel Colquhorn-Fairweather and Alison Cooper was nothing short of groundbreaking, not to mention the hilarious and meticulous promotion material that led to sold out shows on both nights.

Indeed, the play is light-hearted and takes the piss out of Australian contemporary theatre. At end of the play, the cast come out over 6 times to garner an applause from the audience.

Do we ever stop to question why on earth more than one round of applause is necessary in the theatre?

While the play pokes fun at the farcical nature of theatre, there was a poignant moment in a completely improvised scene in the Q&A session at the end of the production that tapped into a deep and relevant issue of the importance of elevating the voices of women in the industry which speaks to the power of theatre in our society.

Was this review a too deep analysis into a light-hearted play?

Look, I’ll say sorry but I’m not taking off my glasses.

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