Drenched in a delicious 70’s aesthetic and wrapped in a lush purple velvet set – Girl Asleep takes your typical awkward indie teenage misfit drama on a psychedelic journey of self-discovery on-par with the brilliant bizarreness of The Mighty Boosh or Adventure Time.
Fresh off the back of a season at the Adelaide Fringe festival and the worldwide positive reception of the film adaption, Girl Asleep has found a home in the open arms of Belvoir St Theatre. Playwright Matthew Whittet’s collaboration with Windmill Theatre’s Director Rosemary Myers is an explosion of adolescent hormones and imagination run wild.
Introverted Greta Driscoll (portrayed with heart-warming innocence by Ellen Steele) is having enough trouble grappling with a new school, nasty cliques and a complicated best-friendship with the equally introverted Elliot (played in goofy splendour by Dylan Young) when she finds out that her parents (portrayed with camp characterisation by Amber McMahon and Matthew Whittet) have invited the whole school to her surprise 15th birthday party – mortifying. Girl Asleep may visit many a tried-and-true teenage cliché, but it does so with its tongue firmly planted in cheek, and with a validating sensitivity. As the creators fairly claim: “Don’t think you’re too old for this… 15 never dies”.
Girl Asleep is grounded in the kind of spoofy yet oh-so-true stereotypes that have seen productions like Heathers: The Musical (and the original Mean Girls-spawning movie for that matter) so resoundingly successful.
This production fully embraces and explores the playfulness possible of live theatre to great effect – from the set of Greta’s pop-up bedroom (complete with plastic horses), to startling lighting effects, morph suits that blend with the lush purple interior, dance sequences and logic-defying costume changes and gimmicks.
It takes plays like this to remind you that there is really exciting and accessible original theatre coming out of Australia. Theatre nerds: don’t miss this. Bring along your reluctant friends who’d normally rather catch a movie, and hit up The Bumper Bar while you’re at it. (AM)
Until Dec 24, varied performance times. Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills. $37-$72. Tickets & info: www.belvoir.com.au