As much as we like theatre to overturn our expectations and challenge our thinking, sometimes it is nice to see a show where you get exactly what you see on the poster. Biddies is one such theatrical number, and from the title to the grinning picture of the six 'mature aged' women on the program, the Brisbane audience at the QUT Gardens Theatre knew exactly what to expect from the show and, judging by the laughs throughout and applause at the end, got exactly what they wanted.
Chock full of jokes about pelvic squeezes, oafish husbands and life back in the 'good old days', Biddies gives voice to the sometimes forgotten older generation of women in our society. Not yet elderly but well past the point of stripping down to their stockings and garters and dancing on stage (or so they thought), the characters of Biddies struggle with and exult in the disappointments and joys of married life, the lack of purpose but freedom that breaks through when children or careers have moved on, the new opportunities to be found in a feminist and technological world and most of all, the eternal balancing act of female friendships. Accidentally locked in their old primary school room, the five women reminisce about what their lives have and haven't become, and, of course, see their futures irrevocably changed when the "internal locking system" in the school has finally been deactivated and their schoolroom incarceration is over.
Biddies is a fun play, with a perfect balance of light and dark moments, a bit of audience participation and even an appearance by the Village People. Though sometimes a bit wordy, the cast, comprising of six of Australia's favourite actresses; Maggie Blinco, Annie Byron, Vivienne Garrett, Julie Hudspeth, Donna Lee and Linden Wilkinson, could have won over most of the crowd simply with their enthusiastic smiles alone. It was clear that the ensemble really enjoyed every moment of the show and the opportunity to give voice to their varied characters, and that alone made it easy to watch.
Biddies makes for an easy yet thought-provoking night at the theatre, complete with a good dash of humour and some touching performances. Audiences of all ages could learn a thing or two (or at least practice their pelvic squeezes!) in the company of the delightful Biddies and their antics.
CDP proudly presents
by Don Reid
Directed by Wayne Harrison
Venue: Gardens Theatre QUT
Dates: 18 – 19 May, 2012
Bookings: (07) 3138 4455 | www.gardenstheatre.qut.edu.au
Visit www.cdp.com.au/biddies.html for full tour details