Slut

Nerida Dickinson

LITTLE Y THEATRE COMPANY: A strong ensemble cast helps Slut to accurately and hauntingly portray female adolescence and reflect society’s perception of women.
Slut
Lolita grows up in suburbia, goes to kinder, school, has a friend next door, likes to ride her bike everywhere and on weekends she goes fishing with her dad and brothers. She is smart and good at maths and spelling. But then, everything changes.

Following Lolita’s childhood and adolescence through the all-seeing eyes of her friendship group, her story builds tension and momentum through the universally accessible nature of her experiences. Based on an incident in Melbourne in 2007, even without background knowledge the play is strong and delivers a range of forceful messages about society’s perception of women.

Little y Theatre Company have assembled a strong, evenly matched ensemble cast for Slut, with a performance of a script that makes demands of actors and audience alike in order to follow the story of a girl who is never physically present. The challenges raised by this situation are met in a lively and engaging manner, avoiding drama-school twee while light-heartedly portraying the physical and social developments of a group of girls growing up.

At times when Lolita does speak in the first person, performers take turns portraying her, often in whimsical depictions of childhood recreations such as riding a bike or rowing a boat. The significance of each apparently trivial scene steals gradually upon you, as the growing distance and marginalisation of the growing girl from her family and social group is revealed.

The quiet, understated moments resonate and “stick” more in the head after the performance, even though the impression of a wolf pack of Year 9 girls was eerily accurate and drew many laughs, as did the giggling Gerties routine of Year 7. There were some scenes with particular resonance: the litany of “creepy things” girls experience as they move through puberty, the shocking revelation of Lolita’s age when she clinically decides to lose her virginity, the ability of the older Lolita to have an idyllic holiday in the countryside with her friend’s grandmother… This “slut” could have been any woman, from any background.

On the technical front, the music hauntingly and seamlessly weaves in with performers’ enthusiastic declarations and the tangential developments in the story. Becoming a Little y trademark, the soundtrack is a collection of gorgeous vocals lingering at the edge of hearing, yet reaching the heart.

A potentially difficult technical approach to a strongly moving story, this production is emotionally moving, thought provoking and nostalgically entertaining by turns. The heavily stylised Greek chorus set pieces are effective as bookends to a dynamically flowing production.

Rating: Four stars

Slut

Written by Patricia Cornelius
Little y Theatre Company
Director: Emily McLean
Set & Lighting Designer: Joe Lui
Composer / Musician: Sian Brown
Cast: Chloe Flockart, Elizabeth Frodsham, Georgia King, Sarah McKellar, Megan Moir, Alexandra Nell, Nicole Warren

The Blue Room Theatre
November 1–19

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Nerida Dickinson is a writer with an interest in the arts. Previously based in Melbourne and Manchester, she is observing the growth of Perth's arts sector with interest.