Review: POLLY’S PARTY at La Mama

Become part of the party!

By Myron My

Upon entering Polly’s Party you are asked to make a choice. Do you want to be inside Polly’s Party or outside Polly’s Party? My friend and I instantly decided to be inside Polly’s Party, not quite sure what that would entail.

We are taken away from the rest of the audience and to a white room with eight green stools, a projector, Lady Gaga music playing and the lady herself, Polly (Renae Shadler). Dressed in bright-multicoloured tights and a sexy, silver “spacesuit” top to rival Gaga, Polly greets us with punch and dance.

The outside audience watches through a one-way mirror and it is from the very beginning the idea of social media watching us and how we put on performances for our fans, followers and friends is explored. We are even encouraged to use social media to make comments, take photos and post videos during the performance.

A big variable for a performance piece such as this is audience participation. In my experience, audience members can be very shy about participating and of the five who did, two absconded to the outside party and one created a few awkward and uncomfortable moments for others. However, Shadler does not break character at all and it is obvious and admirable she has developed Polly so well that she can just be her without a need to “act” like her.

Polly’s Party broaches the subject of self-worth and how that has lately been defined through social media and our increasing need to create a cyber personality for the world to see. Her desperation to have more friends on Facebook and to have a higher Klout score than Justin Bieber touches on society’s crumbling wall of realism.

Unfortunately, Polly’s Party doesn’t really dig any further. It’s a fun and energetic ride with 110% energy levels but insight and depth into social media and its effects is lacking. Once Paula, a shy, introverted suburban Aussie girl, is introduced, you can see the sadness and the eagerness to be accepted into society and it would have been great to see more of that vulnerability and need explored.

Venue: La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond St, Carlton.

Season: Until 23 September| Wed, Sun 6:30pm, Thurs – Sat 7:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: 03 9347 6948 or