Directed by Scott Parker
107 Redfern Street, Redfern
Season: 30 June – 10 July
Flash to a world where some people are animals and society is governed by an autocratic jerk. Perhaps it doesn't sound too far-fetched. Marketed as a political satire in the lead up to the Federal election, I had anticipated that the play would feature cutting comedy regarding Australian politics. In fact, the play doesn’t specifically relate to the Australian situation, but rather a more generalised comment on western democracy as a whole (that’s how I interpreted it anyway). But, the play does do well to satirise the cult of a political personality and the illusion of a just democracy, as well as numerous other facets of politics. The use of puppetry in the play is impeccable, providing a unique medium for storytelling and proving that puppetry has definitely not become outdated.
Matriark Theatre have self-devised this work, following a girl on the outskirts of Godface City, being drawn into the political jungle of Godface and blossoming into an upstanding candidate for the Prime God elections. This production shines in the lively rigour demanded of its performers. With rapid transitions between characters and puppets, innumerable accents and physicalities as the multiple characters played, the actors are on the ball from start to finish. Every performer exhibits tireless focus and energy, which is naturally attractive to the audience eye. The puppetry work is very impressive - exquisitely designed and expertly manipulated by the performers, the puppets truly become captivating characters of their own. We can see the actors moving the puppets, bringing them to life, and this augments the intrigue for audiences, as it is not very common to see such work on the stage anymore. It is the simplest of movements that create a believable character of the puppets, be it the tilt of a hand gesture, the slurp of a milkshake or a shrug whilst driving a car – this attention to detail makes the action incredibly lifelike.
While the story follows an interesting narrative, it lost some momentum at the end. More precise and complex comments could be expressed, but instead the play opts for more generalised statements. This is fine, but a couple of executive decisions need to be made to cut back some convoluted dialogue. However, on the whole the show moves quickly, maintaining highly effective audience engagement.
Godface brings a youthful perspective into the realm of political commentary, and communicates in a way that is dastardly entertaining. Creativity, focus and playfulness are at the fore in this work, and it’s great fun to watch.