Mrs Petrov's Shoe | New Theatre

Mrs Petrov's Shoe | New TheatreMrs Petrov’s Shoe…what a spectacularly avant-garde production. I wont just say play, because it is the scripts marriage with the production that makes Mrs Petrov’s Shoe an unconventional and impressive theatre experience.

Written by Noelle Janaczewska, Mrs Petrov’s Shoe is a story about a story. A multifaceted and complex behind-the-scenes journey into the novel, life and mind of a young, award-winning Writer. If you can conceptualise an enigma wrapped in a riddle, then you are halfway toward understanding the potential of this play!

Opening with a traditional Polish folk song and dance one does not get a prediction of what is to come, which is refreshing in a story. Particularly when so much of life’s subjects are commonplace, it takes a great deal of imagination to throw modern day audiences off the scent.

With a couple of dressmaker’s dolls placed on the wings of the stage shadowed by abnormally large window screens, one gets an overwhelming sense of solemnity from this setting. The garish hue of the Australian Flag throwing a fluorescent light into the dark theatre doesn’t make the picture of what to expect any clearer.

Then the protagonist Anna (Jeneffa Soldactic) addresses the audience to outline the origins of her novel, for which she has just received an award. It is at this point that the play takes on a “stranger than fiction” aura. Anna morphs into Ania and in the turn of a page she enters the world within her book and the second story begins. Ania a young, inquisitive schoolgirl is the youngest child of Polish immigrant parents Nina (Sonia De Domeneghi) and Radek (Paul Treacy) and little sister to Joe (Will Carter). From this point we enter Ania’s world and take an innocent and funny reconnaissance trip into her imaginings and experiences.

The flag is replaced with giant colourful crayon drawings being projected into the space above the action. We follow Ania and her school friend Wendy (Lindsey Chapman) around the classroom and neighbourhood, reading the story through a child’s perspective. Ania’s story is the fiction and chapter three becomes the fact…or does it? Ania becomes Ann and introduces a different version of the same suburban family. And it is at this juncture that the fractured concept of fiction versus reality becomes apparent. You could say that the story doubles over on itself or maybe it is just another verse.

The cerebral treatment the play is given makes for some dynamic theatre. The clever direction (Mackenzie Steele) offers the audience a spying glass, and lets them piece the puzzle together themselves. The drama is carried without faltering right up until the very end. But even then the play does not finish, whether that is by design or as written into the script. Soldactic is truly dynamic; she assimilates the roles of writer, child and narrator with chameleon-like ease. And De Domeneghi and Treacy do a superb job in convincing the audience of their Polish and British heritage, which is no easy task. Thanks to the help of AV Specialist Adam Steele, Illustrator Tony Curran is able to provide the vibrant array of abstract drawings that makes the production endearingly colourful.

Mrs Petrov’s Shoe is a remarkable play with a distinguished cast, and a great way to read a book!


new theatre presents
MRS PETROV’S SHOE
by Noëlle Janaczewska

Directed by Mackenzie Steele

Venue: new theatre | 542 King Street Newtown NSW 2042
Dates: 12 - 15 August
Times: Wednesday – Friday @ 8pm, Saturday @ 2pm and 8pm
Tickets: $22
Bookings: 1300 306 776 | www.mca-tix.com.au
Visit: newtheatre.org.au

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