Things get ugly
By Myron My
In One for the Ugly Girls by Tahli Corin, Alistair (Syd Brisbane) is an artist searching for a lookalike of his late wife so that he can bring her back to life on canvas.
Jade (Lori Bell) responds to his request online and although she is not the ideal image of beauty and not exactly what Alistair has envisaged, he agrees to paint her – until a second Jade (Hannah Norris) arrives and things get a little complicated.
Most of the themes that One for the Ugly Girls deals with are skimmed through and not much closure or complexity is given to the characters. The intense themes of loss, holding on to the past and longing to be loved are all present but they are just glossed over.
Furthermore, there is a lot of raw emotion in the play and sadly, it is to its detriment. The scenes of excessive shouting and yelling seem unnecessary and moments of anger towards others appear without real motive or reason.
Unfortunately Brisbane fails to get the audience to empathise with Alistair as we never really get to know what he is thinking and who he really is. There are a few times when the choices he makes seem to be completely out of character. Furthermore, the motivations of the two Jades for doing what they have done are never explained and you are left with quite a few questions by the end.
In saying that, I would have liked to see more of the two Jades’ relationship. Even though this was predominantly a story revolving around Alistair, there was so much going on between the two girls that it warranted some form of exploration, and suggested a history to be expanded upon. However, both Bell and Norris put in very strong performances and play their characters quite convincingly given the material they’ve got.
Overall, I felt stronger direction was needed by first-time director Adriana Bonaccurso for a play such as this, to allow the story to evolve in a more organic way. One for the Ugly Girls had the potential to be something special but lost its way in the process.
Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street Carlton
Season: Until 19 May | Wed, Fri 8:30pm. Thurs, Sat-Sun 6:30pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc
Bookings: http://lamama.com.au or 9347 6948