REVIEW: Fleur Murphy’s SHADOWS OF ANGELS

Superb performances in a dark and gritty play

By Myron My

Shadows Of Angels is a play that delves into the minds and stories of the Australian female criminal: each tale dealing with a painful situation and event that links them all together.

The set of this production is bare apart from a chair, and a spotlight falls onto the cast as they individually take to the stage and tell their story to the audience. With so little visual stimulation, it’s even more important to have a talented cast to carry the story.

Shadows of Angels

For the most part the casting is spot on. H. Clare Callow is the standout as the “Man Femme”, showing equal parts vulnerability, yearning and sorrow. Meg Spencer is also particularly strong as the “Pretty Femme” portraying the tougher, angrier side of the femme fatale. Mel Dodge’s “Good Femme” rounds out the great performances.

My issue was with Rosemary Johns as the “Old Femme” and it was not at all due to the fine acting and effort that was put into the role, but I feel Jones was miscast here as the “Old Femme”. This was a woman who performed illegal abortions in a secret room and was about to flee from the police but Johns just seemed too sweet and gentle and I had problems believing her character would be capable of committing these crimes.

Fleur Murphy’s script is brilliant. The problem I often find with shows that use monologues is the narrative remains stagnant. However, with Shadows of Angels there is a steady pace that allows the narrative to flow and grow. Even more importantly, these are engaging characters that paint the scene with such vivid imagery that you often forget there is just that one chair on stage.

Chris Saxton has directed a show that stays with you long after it’s over. His efforts in creating the right blend of horror and sympathy both emotionally and physically on stage are what theatre is meant to be about: creating a world that envelops you until you feel like you are actually there.

Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond

Season: Until 23 March | 8:00pm

Tickets: $24 Full | $20 Conc

Bookings: www.owlandcat.com.au/shadows.html

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