Tag: Marie Antoinette

Poppy Seed Festival Presents LADYCAKE

Inventive, outrageous, and entertaining

By Myron My

When you hear the quote, “Let them eat cake”, you can’t help but think of Marie Antoinette. Interestingly enough, there is no official account of the lady ever having said this, and most facts point to it being almost impossible for the phrase to have been coined by her. Performed as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, LadyCake looks at the life of Marie Antoinette through the eyes of three of her handmaidens and how there is much uncertainty on what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to the last Queen of France.

Poppy-Seed-LadyCake-photo-by-Sarah-Walker.jpg

The three performers, Candace Miles, Madelaine Nunn and Anna Rodway – who also created the story – seem to relish playing the three handmaidens, and to be having real fun in messing with history in such a macabre and ostentatious way. While set in the 18th century, the script includes references to modern innovations – such as the internet – darkly reminding us that despite the centuries, the roles women play in society have not changed that much. This is further highlighted in the scenes where they each play Marie’s disapproving mother Maria Theresa, and the general population who slowly began to turn against the Queen.

Anastasia Poppenburg creates an opulent world in a highly simplistic style with bright pink and green fabrics on display, and luscious trees and plants lining the garden where the handmaidens spend their time gossiping. The eventual downfall of the Queen is signified in a bold and devastating manner and the ensuing final moments of LadyCake shows how idle gossip easily becomes confused with fact while also showing the ludicrous expectations that women have to face in a patriarchal society, both then and now.

Furthermore, Lucy Wilkin‘s garish costumes of large pink froufrou dresses and big blonde poufs perfectly encapsulate the absurd demands these women are meant to adhere to, not only in their service to their Queen, but to society in general.

Three Birds Theatre have come a long way since their 2015 Fringe Festival show, Three Birds One Cock, which looked at the female characters of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. While LadyCake could do with some tightening of the script with scenes that played out too long or just felt unnecessary, there is huge potential for this innovative company to generate a strong reputation for itself and its unique brand of theatre.

Venue: Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton
Season: until 27 November | Tues – Sat 8pm, Sun 4pm
Tickets: $35 Full | $25 Concession
Bookings: Poppy Seed Festival

Image by Sarah Walker

REVIEW: Anya Anastasia in FEAR-EATER THEATRE

Promise of more…

By Myron My

In Anya Anastasia’s Fear-Eater Theatre, we are treated to a variety of songs and performances that have been inspired by various fairy tales or iconic figures.

Anastasia’s grand and glamorous entrance as Marie Antoinette was effective in grabbing our attention, but soon after the attention waned and unfortunately I found myself encountering less and less to enjoy about this show.

Fear Eater Theatre

Granted, this was a preview performance for this Melbourne season, and there were a few overt things that needed refinement, such as call cues and effective positioning of UV lights, but I must admit for me, the show itself failed to entertain on the level one would have expected.

The inclusion of guest dancer Briohny May not only felt completely out of context with what the rest of the show was about, but the three songs to which she danced felt like three too many. I found no charisma or charm in the performance personally, and was left puzzled as to why Anastasia has chosen to include the numbers in Fear-Eater Theatre.

Similarly, Anastasia’s performances appeared to be too focused on getting out the right moves, rather than enjoying herself on stage. Again however, I would like to put this down to preview-night nerves and an artist testing new routines.

Anastasia’s greatest strength lies in her songwriting; her ability to take an idea and spin it around until a different perspective is revealed is intriguing to witness. Her skill is evident and admirable in creating quirky and original songs.

I walked out of Fear-Eater Theatre not feeling I had been transported into an “extravagant fantasy realm” as stated in the show’s description, but that this was a performance that perhaps still needed more work and thought before being put on stage again.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 256 Collins St (entry via Carson Place), Melbourne

Season: Until 14 September | 9:00pm, Sunday 8:00pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $22 Conc

Bookings: http://www.thebutterflyclub.com