REVIEW – Alice In The Antipathies

REVIEW – Alice In The Antipathies

A journey of 5,569 kms, a journey in search of a mothers love, a journey ‘Downunder’, full of personal discovery…

Review written by Douglas Robbins

So why not follow Alice on a trip down the rabbit hole?  It is well worth the journey.

An International Co-Production from JUTE Theatre Company, Masakini Theatre Company & Sasi Victoire presents Alice and the Antipathies written by Dr Sasi Victoire, is the culmination of a life colourfully lived. Typically a visual artist, Sasi’s foray into playwriting brings with it a different feel to most other plays. Her vision transcends the page due to her dual role as the production’s visual designer in charge of the costumes & props.

The storyline follows the protagonist Asha, played by Sukania Venugopal, across her formative years growing up as a second generation indian migrant in an ever-changing, multicultural Malaysia. It tracks her rollercoaster journey to assimilate into the Australian  way of life,  without completely losing her cultural identity. The dramatic intensity of this tale is juxtaposed by Asha’s risk-taking imaginative and familiar Alice. Alice is played by Roz Pappalardo, who is a bigger part of Asha than her mum would like; perhaps due to her unquenchable thirst for personal sovereignty above all else, questioning the very role that was laid out readily by her seemingly culture-bound parents. A Ganesha incarnation is played by Phraveen Arikiah, who offers a lighter side to the trials and tribulations that criss-cross the voyage of Asha.

Costumes were vibrant. Asha starts off in a blue knee-length dress with a pinafore worn over the top.  Made iconic by the illustrations from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. a matching apron links her to her imaginary counterpart, Alice. The mother character (or the Red Queen) played by Sabera Shaik, is effortlessly draped in a traditional red sari with gold trim. Ganesha wears an inspired outfit and even those audience members with a limited knowledge of Hindu mythology, will recognise the elephant trunk, and crown. 

The set designer’s, Simona Cosentini & Simone Tesorieri, created a minimalist stage design setup which skilfully allowed for the characters and their dialogue to be front and centre – a table, representing her childhood kitchen, a bed, a religious prayer shrine, large ceramic pot + central screen installation, which is utilized for projections. Projections of artwork on central screens, didn’t quite depict the true depth of the actual inspirational art pieces. 

The opening part / a musical number with the chorus lyrics of “Child of Mine”

was risky – yet with risk can come great reward. Kudos to Tristen Barton, Sound Designer. 

There is a liberal smattering of Alice in Wonderland references throughout, adding to the overall aesthetic of the piece. By unfairly calling her mum, the Red Queen, the temptation is too great to not have her tout her catchphrase “Off with her head!”

There is a touching gem in the penultimate scene, which will clench hearts and complete the circle. 

So why not follow Alice on a trip down the rabbit hole?  It is well worth the journey.

The production ran from Tuesday October 8th until the closing night on Saturday October 12th at 7:30pm at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre

CAST & CREW

Dr Sasi Victoire Playwright + Designer: Visual Design, Costume & Props
Dr Chandrabhanu Director
Tristen Barton Sound Design & Composer
Simona Cosentini & Simone Tesorieri Set Designer’s
Normah Nordin Lighting Designer
Dave Masters
Vision Designer
Phraveen Arikiah played ‘Ganesha’
Sabera Shaik Actor played ‘Mother’
Sukania Venugopal played ‘Asha’
Roz Pappalardo played ‘Alice’

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