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Girls Like That and Grimm Tales at Gib Drama Festival

By C. Wall

Girls Like That, by Evan Placey, explores what happens when a girl’s naked picture is circulated among her school peers. The play asks why different standards are still applied to female and male behaviour, and why girls in particular are so harsh on ingroup transgressors.  

The all-female production we saw by GAMPA Teens, under the tight direction of Christian Santos, prescribed clear answers, flattening individual responses into a monstrous mass of hierarchical hens.

Issue plays from Mr Santos invariably feature technical excellence, including word-perfect choruses and dazzling ensemble choreography, and he has not relinquished this touch.  

Anna Recagno, Sarah Bensadon and Tiana Cartwright found charming mean girls among the mass of lines, while Danielle Fernandez established her black sheep through space and posture. Alex Menez and Britney Parody stood out among the inspirational ordinary feminists. I would have preferred more conversation and less narration, though this was frequently hilarious.

Bayside and Westside Drama Group presented a selection six of Grimm Tales by Carol Ann Duffy. The anthology was too long to fit in a single Festival slot, so Part 1 and Part 2 were billed separately while sharing actors, directors and technical staff.  The humour was broad and family-friendly, which made me wonder why the Festival organisers didn’t pair the Tales with another children’s play.

After the slickness of the GAMPA production, the Grimm anthology unfortunately looked like a school play, something cobbled together for uncritical parents.

Some of the young actors haven’t been taught how to project their voices, or how to use the stage, and the experience of a Kaigan Garcia or Noa Nahon only emphasised the rawness of their fellow players.

Still, there was no shortage of invention, from the talking duck represented by a bottle of Toilet Duck, to the Disneyesque magic visualised by scattering petals.

Even the prompt, whom the under-rehearsed cast frequently needed, was worked into the dialogue as Crazy Woman. The acting was natural, the jokes worked, and we could see through the simple production just how strange those Grimm tales were.

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