REVIEW: Domestic Warfare at MELBOURNE FRINGE

A striking snapshot of the 70s

By Scarlett Harris

Last night was the penultimate performance of Nice Productions’ Domestic Warfare at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Due to illness I was unfortunately unable to attend last week but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see this production as Domestic Warfare is a poignant and plausibly realistic portrayal of domesticity in 1970s Australia.

Domestic Warfare

The hair, costuming and set design perfectly captured the chintzy orangeness of the era and, considering the amount of physicality and energy required of the actors, the cramped performance space was well-utilised. And, coming in at about 90 minutes, Domestic Warfare got its point across in a refreshingly short but hard-hitting manner.

While the male cast members (with the exception of Stephen Laffan playing the small but affecting role of the abusive father) were mostly lackluster, the female actors were brilliant: Rebecca Fortuna, who also served as playwright, as main character Dee; depressed younger sister Lily, played by Lauren Murtagh; archetypal 70s chicks Merrin (Nicolette Nespeca) and my personal favourite Sherry (Dayna Boase); and finally Linda Zilinskas in the role of long-suffering matriarch Nance, whose part was not large enough in my opinion.

While there were hints of amateur yet gritty student theatre, overall Domestic Warfare as directed by Luci Klendo succeeded in portraying the struggle of the traditional family unit to keep up with the rapidly changing zeitgeist of the play’s setting.

Domestic Warfare was performed 19-28 September at Gasworks for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013.

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