This is why we go to theatre

sex.violence.blood.gore is all flushed-flesh pink and delicate ivory lace, which makes it even sexier and gorier and gorgeous. First performed in Singapore in 1999 in a basement in secret, Melbourne’s first production is in a secret warehouse in North Melbourne and, like all wonderful Melbourne secrets, you need a map to find it and may miss out because the word has already got around.

sex.violence.blood.gore Photo by Sarah Walker
sex.violence.blood.gore Photo by Sarah Walker

Malay-Muslim writer Alfian bin Sa’at was born in in Singapore in 1977 and with likes of the giraffe spot, Whitney-singing angels with plastic-covered wings, the problems of organ-donation racism and tiger blow jobs, it’s easy to know why he’s referred to as Singapore’s “enfant terrible”.

sex.violence.blood.gore is five short works connected by content that’s sexy, violent, bloody and/or gorey, but start with sexual repression and are firmly placed in a country that deals with conflicts about religion, the aftermath of being a British colony and invaded by Japan, and defining its own identity between Malaysia and Indonesia. (I admit that my first reaction to Singapore was to look up the recipe for a Singapore Sling.)

With content so connected to the writer and his home, it could so easily be a curious, worthy and distancing work about queer South East Asia, but director Stephen Nicolazzo  (Home Economics, Two by TwoNegative Energy Inc) would never allow that.

He breaks down any sense of “them” with a glorious young cast of five women (Genevieve Guiffre, Catherine Davies, Whitney Boyd, Amy-Scott Smith, Zoe Boesen and Caitlin Adams) and one man (Matt Furlani) who freely play against their gender and ethnicity.  And Eugyeene Teh (designer) puts them in a pink world framed by body parts and net curtains and clads them in off-white underwear that teeters between repressive uncomfortable and irresistibly hot.

By taking it so out of its context, Nicolazzo lets the heart of this work speak and ensures that it’s for and about everyone who sees it. This is what theatre is about. I see so many wonderfully written, beautifully performed works that are so terribly dull because they don’t make this kind of connection with their audience.

And, of course, there’s only one company in town that would bring us this type of theatre. sex.violence.blood.gore is the second show of MKA’s winter season. Miss it and you’ll regret it. And to ensure that you don’t miss it, BOOK.

And, if you missed MKA’s The Economist last year, there are TWO more shows on 20 and 21 July, before they go to Edinburgh .

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *