Photo – Brett Boardman
For fox sake.
Rita Kalnejais’ play First Love is the Revolution sounds like a love story set in social tumult but the revolt concerns not two star crossed lovers, but two cross species lovers, human Basti and vixen Rdeca.
Rdeca is a reluctant predator, showing compassion in her first kill, a mild mannered mole called Gregor. (Hi, Franz, how are you engoying the show?). Her predatory procrastination peeves Rdeca’s mother, Cochineal, recently widowed and doing her best to instil the need for the kill in her three cubs. Basti, short for Sebastian Cunningham, a fourteen year old boy living at home with his ocker dad, Simon, his mother assigned to a psychiatric facility frustrated with the course of her marriage. He has set a fox trap and Rdeca has taken the bait.
Soulmates in the compassion for their first quarry, the boy and the vixen strike up a relationship that turns romantic. Her capture was to facilitate the making of a fox stole for his absent mother but instead the fox stole his heart. Weird? Fur sure, but First Love is the Revolution outfoxes the hounds baying “bestiality” and sets the subtext among the pigeons – or is it chooks?
Director Lee Lewis has assembled a dynamic cast that runs with the foxes and hunts with the hounds with energetic playfulness. Leader of the pack is Sarah Meacham as Rdeca, lithe, limber and lyrical. Badiya McKinnon as Basti radiates such a sweet boyish charm that the audience has no choice but to radiate warmth right back.
Rebecca Massey as Cochineal exudes la reine renard, a tough love mom ferocious in her pride for her pride, her skulk while doing dandy double duty as bird brain chook. As her two other cubs, Amy Hack and Guy Simon give great pack with individual flair. Hack also doubles as a cat and Simon as a dog, both to outstanding degree. And Matthew Whittet shows lovely range as Simon, Basti’s “Doh!” Dad and as the timid, existential Gregor Mole.
Played upon a clever set that serves for both human and animal turf, First Love is the Revolution never ceases to surprise, entertain and engage.
Griffin Theatre Company presents
First Love is the Revolution
by Rita Kalnejais
Director Lee Lewis
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre | 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW
Dates: 1 November – 14 December 2019
Tickets: $62 – $38