Attract/Repel, developed by the Melbourne Town Players is the latest performance-interrogation by Ming-Zhu Hii. It is currently playing at The Storeroom Theatre as part of their Melbourne Fringe Festival season.
Describing itself as a raw and beautiful investigation into the racial identification of Australia, this work takes an engaging and thoughtful look into the many cultural identities of our country and the treatment directed towards them. Performed by ensemble members Jing-Xuan Chan, Fanny Hanusin, Georgina Naidu and Terry Yeboah, each takes us on an unflinching journey of their own personal upbringing in diversely multi-cultural, yet somewhat unforgiving Australia.
The performers have a beautiful energy between them, along with a strong sense of compassion for one another. Their personal anecdotes are energetically fresh, and I am hoping that this spontaneity continues well into their lengthy season. Celebrating their cultural differences is a running theme throughout, with humour a constant thread; Georgie cheekily admitting that her ethnicity rose when it came to arts funding applications, while Fanny cheerfully exclaimed that she passed her economics exam due to her lecturer honeymooning in Bali.
Yet their stories of racism and discrimination were dark and unforgettable, and even with brief respites of individual tenderness, the reality of our modern world filled with cultural intolerance and racially motivated violence became incredibly stark.
This is theatre at its most insightful and interesting, with my highest praise of the piece coming from the performers giving their own regretful yet truthful admissions of racism. And while the linking montages of movement seemed unnecessary and distracting, the generous nature of these performers and of course the creator Ming-Zhu is something to be applauded and treasured.
The Store Room presents
A new not-play by The Melbourne Town Players
Writer/Director Ming-Zhu Hii
Venue: The Store Room (above The Parkview Hotel) Level 1, 131 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North, Melway 30 B12
Previews: 16th,17th and 18th September 2009
Season: 19th September – 10th October 2009
Times: Tuesday – Sunday at 7pm (approx 60 min. running time)
Tickets: Full $30 / Conc. $20 / Group (8+) $20
Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au | (03) 9660 9666