Mark Ravenhill’s work is notoriously difficult to work through and master, however this production does a fine job at cutting through the more unsavoury elements of the text, bringing to light the core objectives of the work.
With a swirl of colour and a pop of cleverly crafted sound effects, the production dives right in and transports the audience to an unsettling world of the 90s (blended with some cheeky nods to current times). The energy is high and the stakes even higher, as each scene peels into the next and each moment becomes more and more unsettling.
Tyrone Cross directs with free abandon, liberally allowing the characters to stagger about their world and crash destructively into the ongoing themes and issues of the work. There are moments where the pace wains and the vignette style of the work is clunky, but Cross’ keen eye for subtle detail smoothes over the rougher edges.
Sid Bobbin, Riley Nottingham, Rosemary Ochtman, Carter Smith and Mith Saseetharan are a well oiled ensemble, generously working together to deepen the audience’s connection to the characters and bringing to life some of the most dishonest and pitiful people to inhabit the stage.
Shopping and F*cking is a highly ambitious production and one that is well worth a look for fans of brutal British 90s era theatre.
Shopping and F*cking
The MC Showroom, Level 1 – 48 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Tuesday 20 April 2021
Season continues to 25 April 2021
Information and Bookings: www.midsumma.org.au
Image: Rosemary Ochtman – photo by Jesse Donaldson-Jarrett
Review: Gavin Roach