Adelaide Festival 2018 Review: In the Club

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Photo Credit: @statetheatresa

What: In the Club

Who: State Theatre Company of South Australia

When: 23rd February – 18th March

Where: Odeon Theatre, Norwood

How much: $34.00 – $76.00 (see site for full details)

A heart beats stridently and the audience is submerged in darkness as light rain falls onto the stage, filling the stage floor with ankle deep water. A young woman, dressed for a wild night out, emerges from behind the wall of rain. She has a fierce look in her eye, with fists clenched. The story she recounts is devastating: a tale of innocence robbed by one of her football heroes. She is joined by two other women who share their relationships with the opposite sex, one young and innocent, the other mature and experienced.  They all share one common goal this night: to seek a man in the club.

Booming techno music and strobe lights introduce the three football players as they enter the nightclub after their match. Their testosterone and adrenaline are pumping, and their presence on stage is explosive. Over the course of the night, the audience witnesses the interactions between the clubgoers as they become more intimate and unpredictable.

Written by Patricia Cornelius, the dialogue of In the Club is contemporary and extremely bold, featuring raw and unashamedly explicit monologues. She writes about female sexuality and desire in an open way that reflects a lot of women’s experience, with the expectations they are expected to fulfil as well as the intimidation felt when around men.

The set and lighting design throughout was very compelling. The stage of water, as well as being visually stunning when danced on, was incredibly emotive: when the water was hit in fury, the reflection of the ripples would fill the theatre, as if the anger was physically emanating from the character. The presence of the water also reflected the women’s vulnerability as they become colder as the night progressed.

I was entirely captivated by this production from start to finish. In the Club was gripping from the moment the lights faded. It unashamedly recounts stories of women who have experienced horrible abuse, further contributing to the discussion catalysed by the #MeToo movement. I would recommend this to a mature audience and guarantee that all will be captivated by this visually entrancing and emotive piece.

5 out of 5 stars

Milly Farmer

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