Rovers | NORPALeft – Roxanne McDonald and Barbara Lowing. Photo – Cinnamon Smith

Storytelling will never die.

Storytelling through conversation, through music, through a play, written and created for awesome women, brought to life with sound and lighting and minimal props – now that is entertainment on a whole other level. And entertained we were at NORPA on Saturday night. How can you pack so much into a one hour show? How can such a small creative team bring to life a show this inclusive? The audience WAS included – but not by audience participation… no … by having a story TOLD to them with all its complexities, nuances, segues and familiarities.

As Roxanne McDonald (take a bow, you had me at Acknowledgement of Country) ‘apologised’ for ‘tangent-ental meditation’, with performance going from here to there and all the way back again; “Memories colliding, slipping and sliding… like life.” True, so true. And what a life these two women actors have had. Thirty five years in the business and still going strong! To quote from Caroline Dunphy, Director (Belloo Creative and NORPA Associate Artist):
“Belloo’s decision to create Rovers began with a desire to reunite Roxanne McDonald and Barbara Lowing on stage after 21 years apart. We wanted to celebrate their lives as dedicated women artists in a profession that invigorates all of our imaginations. A profession as adventurous as the lives it portrays.”

Barbara Lowing (mesmerising performance) climbs down from the water tank (fabulous minimalist set design) and meets up with Roxy, all-knowing and all-seeing and the road trip through memory begins. Music choice has the audience enthused (I was mentally singing along with my favourites) and we travel the ‘journey’ with our protagonists, as they show us their world, “collaborative, part auto-biographic” written for them (and us) by award-winning writer Katherine Lyall-Watson. Did I mention inclusive? We were with them every step of the way! Laugh, oh yes, we laughed and recognised the characters within ourselves, too. This is theatre at its best, “Feeling everything all at once” and we felt and heard, “Rain, drums on the earth… and we dance …” Travelling to The Red Centre, “the beginning and ending and everything in-between,” with stories intertwining, seamless sound and marriage of memories, we are riding the tyres! That prop-feast had everyone in the audience laughing – I can imagine Sunday will see many families creating tyre-horses, I know I will!

This show is full of surprises and to see such an effort by such a small, culturally erect, creative team come to fruition and World Premiere at NORPA, in my regional area, well, I remain gobsmacked, with lingering scenes, words and music still rattling around my brain. I want to witness it all over again!

NORPA presents a Belloo Creative and NORPA coproduction
by Katherine Lyall-Watson

Director Caroline Dunphy

Venue: NORPA | Lismore City Hall, 1 Bounty Street Lismore
Dates: 17 – 18 August 2018
Tickets: $20 – $49
Bookings: | 1300 066 722



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