Until 15 April
By Matthew Sheahan
*Warning – this review contains spoilers*
I went to see Pear Shaped which was an intimate piece of theatre staged at Theatre Works in St Kilda. It follows the story of two sisters, Francesca and Kayla, who are both struggling with mental health conditions. I entered the theatre space which was comprised of the set which is made up like an apartment, I really liked this as it set the vibe of the whole show from the beginning.
While at first it was a little difficult to understand where the direction of the story was heading, but as the it went on it was clear to see that the precedent of the show was mental health and the affect on the brain and the physical aspects as well. The struggles of Francesca (Frankie, as she was affectionately called) were displayed in a larger than life way with projections used on the wall and interior of the apartment to really emphasise to the audience what was happening. The show was plotted around Frankie reading Alice In Wonderland and without even knowing, seeing her life go ‘down the rabbit hole’ just as Alice does in the story. I found it very interesting to see her real life play out as if it were part of the Alice In Wonderland story and you could tell that she wished she was living in that land.
As the story continues, we discover that the other sister, Kayla, is struggling with an eating disorder and goes on a destructive path in her mind which eventually affects her physically as well. The real tipping point for me was realising that the whole time when we were focussed on Frankie, it was soon made clear that Kayla was also struggling and so in the end it was both of them that needed help.
I found the performances of both actors powerful and they were very committed to their roles, as the show went on, they switched to many different characters which I found both dramatic and eye-opening as it was the embodiment of what someone with these issues goes through. Both performances were extremely well acted and should be congratulated. The lighting was also a highlight for me, again emphasising the mind’s thoughts without being too overbearing. Having being an avid musical theatre goer, it was nice to venture out explore a different type of production that I wouldn’t otherwise watch.
About the Author
Matthew Sheahan is an active performer on the community theatre scene having performed in musical theatre for almost 20 years all over Melbourne. He is also a vocal coach and has also written and performed his own cabaret shows.
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