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playlist: electrifying and every synonym thereof

Siri earned her money on the way home.

Hey Siri. I’m listening.  Give me a synonym for exuberant.

Hey Siri. I’m listening. Give me a synonym for compelling.

This part went on for quite a while as I managed to get electrifying , brilliant, fiery  and so forth out of my system.  Until I came to the sad realisation that I am out of superlatives for PLAYLIST. A show which is …  marvellous … not quite right … inspiring … nah … thrilling…nope.  Since I am an old lady and love to learn from our magnificent, inspiring, thrilling youth, I will simply say that PLAYLIST is “boss as fuck.” 

It begins in silhouette as we hear words like Tonga, Iraq, Nigeria, Revesby, Yagoona.  Heritage diverse, these young women then belt into an explosive, statued heart pound of a movement sequence.  There are 5 young people and they are so fucking good at everything they pour onto that stage.  They dance, they share, they speak from the heart. They speak for women by never putting down men, they call each other sista and they all love music.  Over the next goddess powered 70 minutes, we will get an insight into what inspires these emergent artists.  What they listen to when sad, in love, empowered. The soundtrack of their lives might begin with Spice Girls and their parents’ Fleetwood Mac and Ella Fitzgerald but we will travel with them through Delta and Rhianna to the Pussys and Patti.

The ensemble of performers Ebube Uba, May Tran, Tasha O’Brien, Mara Knezevic and Neda Taha have worked with Director Karen Therese and Choreographer Larissa McGowan to craft a show which explores issues relevant to every person, every gender, who experiences this extraordinary work.  A work produced with passion and pride by PYT Fairfield.

Staged with the female triangle as motif, the set consists of arrowheads of internally lit, rolling plinths that the women use, soap box or distorted disco cage, as their weapons of honest conversation.   Their stream of consciousness involves the real and perceptive in varied ways and on many topics.  They are very funny.  Hilarious in places.  There’s a queue joke that killed me!  Each performance is confident and charismatic in their direct to the audience speaking and their relationship with each other is warm and fun-loving.

There’s great movement and dance too.  Not afraid of reclaiming a sexy strut or subtly invoking a haka, it reaches and stares and is not inhibited by the male gaze.  Their travel and expression of ideas like freedom and brokenness and healing from the heart are expressed contagiously.  This production thrives on an awareness of the power of movement to elucidate the abstract.  Their work is cohesive and coherent but never subsuming of individual personalities.  And for damn sure one wants to get up in the aisles and dance with them.

That intangibility of music to drive the dialectic is there too.   It’s not that we hear songs that we know, though you can listen to a Spotify playlist curated by the performers and the director. It’s more the journey of PLAYLIST that is represented by music.  For example, leading to the finale is a ringing, distorted Tibetan bowl resonance under the electronica that ramps up to burning with the energy.  And the anger.

For these five artists have distilled the rage of all women in several sublimely intellectual and superbly touching sequences, both spoken and physical.  There is a chilling list of names, there is female muscle and strain and sweat, there is a jolting, shocking representation of gang violence, there is original sin and there is wail and chant.  And love and fun and wit in these complexities of female spirit.

These young women are simply superlative exhausting.  So I will make this last part simple.  Repeat after me. “Hey Siri.  Urgently book tickets to PYT Fairfield’s PLAYLIST”.

PLAYLIST from PYT Fairfield [Facebook] is playing until August 11th.  Absolutely do not miss it under any circumstances.


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