Each year Australian Theatre for Young People brings together 20 of the country’s most exciting young writers to participate in the National Studio. From these 10 are presented under the title Bite Me, following a food connection.
Director Anthony Skuse took what the players gave him – a Mozart song, a riff, and familiar furniture. He explains, “In art as in life the table can stand for family, power or death. Our physical relationship with tables can be expressive of our relationship to life.”
Opening up was Eating Sunshine by Emily Sheehan giving voice to teenage angst: a secret affair with a married man, most of which is taken up with an article she read about a man living on … sunshine. Effective underscoring of “sunshine” sung upstage.
Something I Prepared Earlier by Julian Larnach created an overlapping trio of creatives pitching an impromptu ad campaign. Pace was driven by bass guitar riffs.
A very tender performance from Angelica Madani in Tasnim Hossain’s Sweet in the Savoury gave us a glimpse of modern East-West love in food.
A curious ‘date night’ gave us Food Baby by Kyle Walmsley, with the dynamic tension of the relationship placated by the comfort of a full tummy. Yes, a baby.
Facon by Felicity Pickering tells the story of a reformed vegetarian through punchy poetry. Here Kate Williams musicality was vitally accompanied by the guitars.
There were punctuations of physical work from the ensemble, making use of the playing area, and long table. Keir Wilkins’ George had us in an apocalyptic saga, where George the dog was a little too tasty for the survivors.
Pip Nat Georgie by Jory Anast explores a truth or dare game, with heartfelt love across cultures connected by their meals. Airlie Dodds use of vocal colour made this a standout.
Perhaps the most eloquent writing comes in Sweet Sour by Sophie Hardcastle. Sam Marques paces this so well, tasting the food as he recalls his mother’s cooking.
Tell Me by Jake Brain featured Joel Jackson in a movement tour de force. It consists of repeated choreography that sped up as the voice pleads Tell Me!
Finally, the ensemble combine in Zac Linford’s Dig In, Dean which is like an internal commentary set for chorus voices of a first meeting of family and new boyfriend. Timing was superb, and all deserved their generous applause.
While it’s tough to venture into a dark converted space on such a beautiful evening, you will be supporting artists who will be knocking on theatre doors with the passion that fed this show. Tuck in!