Who was Eve Langley, a writer born before her time? What was she like? Co-devised by Margi Brown Ash, Leah Mercer and Daniel Evans, Eve is an exploration more than a story. It is atmospheric, chaotic and embarks on a fantastical expedition into the mind of a disturbed and ingenious woman. More than anything it poses the very personal question of how we know whether we belong.
Eve Langley was an Australian writer who published just two books in her time. She died alone in Katoomba, New South Wales in 1974. The performance investigates her battle between duty to her family and fervour for writing. She rebelled strongly against the domestic stereotypes of the day by adopting the masculine persona of Oscar Wilde and spent a number of years locked in a mental institution. The themes are powerfully thought-provoking, both specifically about Eve Langley and in general terms.
Margi Brown Ash has delved extensively into Eve’s mind and emerges with an incredible ability to embody her. She emphasises Eve’s exciting and eccentric qualities. The play as a whole is intense and sporadic. It is very much a stream of consciousness narrative in the way it follows Eve rapidly from one train of thought to another. Margi reacts to the pace with infectious enthusiasm.
This is the second time The Blue Room Theatre has offered me the chance to see live music. Roland Adeney’s violin composition and performance contrasted brilliantly with Margi Brown Ash’s boisterous Eve. The violin player provided subtle, musical energy to drive and dictate the mood. With Philip Miolin as a charismatic and enthusiastic narrator, the two enhanced the idea that there were multiple voices at work in Eve’s mind.
Designer Tessa Darcey inserted endless possibilities and hidden components into the earthy, whimsical set, including a trapdoor in Eve’s hut. Bev Jensen’s costume design constructed Eve’s personality and values with an overlarge suit. Chris Donnelly’s soft, yellow lights were dynamic and magical. As a whole, the aesthetic of the play achieved through these combined technical elements was hugely important in generating the intriguing atmosphere and the journey into Eve’s mind.
While Travis Ash’s sound design was at times powerful, there were moments when it assaulted the senses for prolonged amounts of time. The space was fully utilised by the performers, and the sound design mirrored this by filling the entire room. However, at times it became overpowering and detracted from the mood rather than making a positive impact on the performance.
At times the structure of Eve became confusing, but in this way it acted as an indication of how Eve Langley’s mind worked. Closely directed by Leah Mercer, the performance returned full circle at the end, and this cyclical structure was particularly effective for making the audience think. Margi Brown Ash’s magical, fantastic portrayal of this fascinating woman really encouraged me to want to learn more about her.
Bookings: www.blueroom.org.au / (08) 9227 7005
Tuesday 23 October – Saturday 10 November 2012 (excludes Mondays and Sundays)