Theatre Review: The Maids

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Presented by Scarlett Entertainment
Reviewed 21 June 2018

Jean Genet’s complex play is definitely wordy but well written. That last comment being an assumption as I have never read the original French text. This translation, by Bernard Frenchman, is good but did they forget the punctuation? Commas and full stops are as important as the words to the flow and understanding of a play. The speed at which most of this was delivered would suggest no punctuation was added. With a difficult to understand play, which this is, it makes unravelling the plot more difficult.

The simple set by director Tony Knight and producer Matt Shannon, was effective. Thirteen full length mirrors, vases of flowers and a minimal amount of furniture it worked well. The use of many mirrors to reflect the narcissism of the characters and the suggestion of elegance was enough. Coupled with Stephen Dean’s lighting it allowed for good angles. Victoria Carbone’s costumes were in character and appropriate but the maids are, I think, more attractive than Genet intended.

Both Peta Shannon and Kate Bonney do well as Solange and Claire although the orgasm scene could be a little subtler; the titters from the audience were not the intended result. Angelika Bailey as Madame does not fare so well. She achieves the sickly sweetness, shown at times, but lacks the biting satire which makes Madame so cruel.

This was an attractive production with some good characterisation from the maids but lacking depth and punch.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

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Glam Adelaide Arts Writer & Reviewer

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