State Theatre Company’s re-imagined The Club focuses on two sides of a football club: the corporate, who want change and new players, and the coach and existing players who want to stick to what they know and what they think works. Together they want to succeed and win a premiership but have different views on how to achieve this.
First performed in 1977, all female theatre company isthisyours? keeps David Williamson’s original script but performs it with three female actors playing two characters each. This helps continue to ooze the masculinity from within the characters, but adds even more comedic elements to Williamson’s already satirical play. Not only this, but moments like the actors’ exaggerated ‘manspreading’ adds hilarity and you can almost feel the collective smirk on the female audience member’s faces. The use of female actors in this play about men isn’t the only innovative change to the play.
The costumes are arguably the most enjoyable element of the play. There’s flares, tan coloured suits and tiny footy shorts; resembling the 70’s era the play is set in. Each actor dons a cheap wig and moustache, occasionally attaching their wig to a hook hanging from the ceiling so that they can run over to another wig and play another character. Due to the excessive wig changing, and even the on stage costume changes, the play occasionally lost its flow and the story become hard to follow.
There was also a big tone shift in the second half of the play, making it even more absurd and Monty Python-esque. Williamson did not want the original script altered so it was obvious that isthisyours? had to come up with other ways to push the boundaries. The change of set, use of puppets and even more costume changes helped achieve this.
It truly is refreshing to see isthisyours? venture out and try something different. The actors do a marvellous job of portraying the two different characters they play through their exaggerated characterisation.
Williamson has said that, “The Club is a comedy about bad male behaviour and no one understands that better than women.” With the recent misogynistic comments on Australian Football player Tayla Harris’ photo, perhaps this reinvention of The Club is more ironic and important than ever.
The Club is hilarious, cheeky and at times, disturbing. You won’t want to miss this unique take on Williamson’s Aussie classic. The Club runs until the 20th of April. Grab your tickets HERE.
Reviewed by Cat Kusmuk-Dodd