firststep_covThere can be no doubt that Sue Ingleton is one of Australia’s most impressive performers. Acerbic, captivating, intelligent, audacious, resilient and dazzling are just a few of the words that can be used to describe her. Ingleton’s latest show The First Step on a Tram Is Hell, now playing at LaMama as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, is a soft-hearted tribute to the hardiness and perversity of old age.

This is an exuberant production, in which Ingleton joyously leaps from one character to the next. She chronicles, in rich detail, the lives of Bill Rawlings, Edith Wise and Sue, as they endure and overcome the challenges of a long life lived well.

Much of the success of this production, also written and directed by Ingleton, is reliant on Ingleton’s irresistible charisma. She seduces the audience before the show has even begun, as she roams LaMama’s ‘waiting room’ looking for conversation. This is a very funny production, though the humour is certainly of the sentimental variety.

The performance style is casual and conversational, with Ingleton’s characters making frequent direct reference to the audience (nothing scary I assure you, you can still sit up the front!). The costuming is crisp and effective. The sound and light design is o.k. but the operation is a little too clunky, perhaps still ‘ironing out the bugs’.

The First Step on a Tram Is Hell, dedicated to Ingleton’s mother, is a gentle, thoughtful, sometimes vulgar and frequently funny production. It serves to showcase, once again, a magnetic performer in the prime of her theatrical life.

La Mama presents
The First Step On A Tram Is Hell
A stumble through ageing and aged care

Venue: La Mama | 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Dates: April 4 – April 22, 2007
Times: Wed, Fri and Sun at 6.30pm, Thurs and Sat at 8.30pm
Duration: 80 minutes approx.
Bookings: 9347 6142

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