Theatre review: We Will Slam You With Our Wings

Slamming down on the patriarchy as part of Illuminate Adelaide’s City Lights program.

Illuminate Adelaide is all about getting Adelaideans out of their homes in our freezing cold South Australia winter and getting people to see our city in a new light.

We Will Slam You With Our Wings is part of Illuminate Adelaide’s City Lights program and the performance certainly achieves this goal.

On the world premiere opening night, guests are ushered into the Mortlock Wing of the State Library of South Australia – a setting not unlike something out of a Harry Potter novel.

With guests located on the lower floor of the library, on the upper level, among the historic books and journals, a group of girls launch into a war cry.

With the audience’s attention well and truly caught, the group begins its descent downstairs, and starts posing questions about just what it means to be ladylike.

The audience then turns around to a seven-screen sound and video installation. Each screen shows a colonial imperialist from the 1800s but with a twist. Rather than white men, young girls aged 8 to 16 stand in their place, confident in their own power.

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In the middle of the group is the creator of the piece, international director and performer Joanna Dudley. With Dudley standing strongly as the matriarch of the group, the girls go through various journeys.

As operatic classics play, and speeches from the world’s male dictators and leaders are rewritten and re-performed, the girls are transformed into warrior women rather than children.

Children’s objects such as scissors with cartoon characters on them become weapons as the girls display their power. In various stances, the girls look ready to conquer the world.

But, in the end, they turn back into the children they are, on their pushbikes or relaxing in the park, highlighting the journey they have been on.

This is a show you could go to see several times, to focus on each of the girls/womens’ various journeys. It’s well worth braving the cold for and a fantastic way to look at feminism in a new light.

We Will Slam You With Our Wings by Joanna Dudley
State Library of South Australia
Tickets: Free

We Will Slam You With Our Wings will be performed until 31 July 2022 as part of Illuminate Adelaide. 

Paula Thompson is a journalist who has written for The Advertiser, SA Weekend and the Stock Journal newspapers. She is now freelancing