Featured photo – Peter Paltos, Jennifer Vuletic, Charles Purcell. Production photography by Sarah Walker.
Since its inception in Melbourne in 2012, Little Ones Theatre, formed by director Stephen Nicolazzo and designers Eugyeene Teh and Katie Sfetkidis, has worked with the major theatre companies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin Festival, establishing its growing reputation along the way.
The Company’s productions have been described as “a theatrical pastiche of cinematic, literary and cult references that are colourful, camp, wild and visually striking”. Its latest show from Melbourne, MERCILESS GODS, playing in Sydney at the Stables Theatre, is bold, thoughtful, confronting and, above all, vibrant and entertaining.
Based on the book of short stories by The Slap author Christos Tsiolkas, the script has been adapted by playwright Dan Giovannoni and includes several beautifully written monologues.
There are eight stories played by five talented actors, all with passionate conviction and a refreshing lack of inhibition. The stories run deep into the underground of the multi-cultural Australian psyche, bypassing the everyday stories we see on TV. The misfits, the gay sauna, the junky who turns to porn to be free of debt, the silent mothers whose children are out of reach.
The five actors, Paul Blenheim, Brigid Gallacher, Sapidah Kian, Peter Paltos, Charles Purcell and Jennifer Vuletic open with the first story – a drug-fuelled dinner party with a game-themed ‘best revenge story’, touching on the heartbreak of racism. The ensuing seven stories become ever more powerful.
Actress Jennifer Vuletic tantalises the audience with three commanding and fiercely passionate characters. An innocent Italian mother discovers her son’s porn video, unwinding the tape with devastating despair. A bohemian, narcissistic writer ridicules and rejects her daughter and boyfriend, a character reminiscent of Eleanor Bron appearing as Patsy’s mother in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, and she plays a niggling, grumpy old man in a wheelchair who surrounds himself with his family for his ritual suicide.
Brigid Gallacher does a wonderful monologue to her son she can see and smell but cannot reach.
The other actors all give fine performances that are rich, funny, vicious and tender.
The set and costume design by Eugyeene Teh…is colourful and dynamic, especially the rich, velvet red curtain that dominates the stage. His use of colour is as unforgettable as the dialogue and acting. The lighting by Katie Sfetkidis also highlights the dark and mysterious themes.
Daniel Nixon’s sound design is powerful and emotive.
MERCILESS GODS is refreshingly subversive, stylised, burlesque and powerful. It’s a piece of theatre worth seeing. It plays at The Stables Theatre, Kings Cross, until November 25th.