I’m With Her
Darlinghurst Theatre Company, November 13
No rating given*
At the beginning of the second act the lights go down and a mobile phone rings off stage. Cue rolling eyes and shushing. Oh no. It’s a reviewer chatting to her sister. Contemplating writing yet another five-star review about yet another “carousel of trauma”. Stealing all my best lines, damn it.
I’m With Her is Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s first commissioned work, developed and directed by Victoria Midwinter Pitt in with a team of writers. It tells the stories of nine Australian women who have made a mark on our society in spite of, and sometimes because of, the grinding machinery of systemic misogyny. Five actors deliver the stories as verbatim theatre, their monologues developed from long conversations between Midwinter Pitt and the women. They are linked by a series of short sketches from contemporary women writers that act as a pressure valve to release some of the anger and derision as #metoo sends shockwaves round the auditorium.
It’s a brave and beautiful show. As a piece of theatre it’s too long and too loose, with repetition sometimes muddying the message. As a piece of resistance, however, it is bloody brilliant. The message is long and loose. It is muddy. Happily, it is also by turns very funny and very moving. This is partly due to the irresistible power of the words, but also due to the five actors who inhabit their characters with fluent authenticity.