The Javeenbah Theatre Company’s latest production, Matthew Whittet’s Cinderella, brings a concept known as magical realism into the theatrical spotlight.
This is not the fairy tale world of the timeless story of a charming prince and a beautiful put-a-upon peasant girl. Australian actor and playwright Matthew Whittet’s Cinderella takes the audiences into the lonely, empty, anxiety filled existence of a forty something women looking for love on the dating scene.
The character, simply known as She or Her at first, is in a noisy hotel listening to the music of Hall and Oats (their music plays an important part in the show) when she knocks her head.
The next minute she finds herself in the company of an unnamed charming whimsical fellow who takes a great interest in her welfare. Over the next hour, or so, we witness their relationship blossom during the evening as our Cinderella makes references to the original with little touches, such as loosing a shoe, and the clock moving towards the bewitching hour.
Along the way our seemingly loving couple enjoy a meal together as well as bill and coo in the local park as an owl looks on. So hands up who has a handle on magical realism?
As director Jocelyn Moore-Carter explains in her forward in the program it’s a term which will mean little, or nothing, outside the world of drama education. “This is a relatively new genre where unreal characters and magical things can happen, but the real characters just accept them,” Ms Moore-Carter writes.
There are some clues along the way such as well into the piece, when we finally lean that our She is Ashley and our He is Ash short for Ashley. Then there’s Corinne Meunier’s simple, but highly imaginative set design, which has a distinctive artificial look.
There’s no pumpkin turning into a coach, or mice becoming footmen, but there’s definitely magic in the air. The show we saw featured the natural everyday Carole Lange and Liam Mathers as He and She or Ashley and Ash. However, the remarkable Ms Moore-Carter, who is a drama teacher at the Trinty Lutheran College and Javeenbah president, has created two other Cinderella productions using the same script.
One is a He-She couple, Taylor Holmes and David Anderson, and the other is a same sex duo played by Cass Rockley and Megan Frener. The original idea was to have an alternative cast as a safety net in case of Covid, but then Ms Moore-Carter decided that an extra same sex couple would be intriguing.
The details of which cast will be on stage on any given night can be found in the Javeenbah booking information site. The project makes for exciting experimental theatre and should have special appeal to anyone studying drama.
This Cinderella is definitely not for the youngsters and adult audiences would benefit from mentally learning forward. Ms Moore-Carter has given the community a truly engaging slice of original theatre.
To borrow a line from another storytelling medium this is the stuff of which dreams are made.
Cinderella by Matthew Whittet. Directed by Jocelyn Moore-Carter.
Produced by Javeenbah Theatre Company. Running time 75 minutes plus interval.
Production features three rotating companies known as
Punkin Cast (Taylor Holmes and David Anderson),
Ateyu Cast (Cass Rockley and Megan Frener)
Milo Cast (Carole Lange and Liam Mathers)
Shows this week on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th from 7:30pm with a Sunday Matinee from 2:00pm and the following week from 7:30pm on Thursday 23th, Friday 24th and Closing night on Saturday 25th.
Tickets are $25.00 - $30.00
To book tickets click here
or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Directed by Jocelyn Moore-Carter.