Fringe Review: "Banned" is an Empathetic, Sincere Success
Meeka is an Indigenous woman who has just been hit with a lifetime ban from attending football matches, and wants this to change. Jane is the suburban white mum who wants the ban to stay. The two have been sent to mediation to work out their differences and come to an agreement. What could possibly go wrong?
Mudskipper Productions' Banned is one of the many phenomenal new plays from the team at Blue Room Summer Nights. It is a thought provoking piece of work that deftly examines a myriad of social issues in a sensitive and nuanced yet entertaining manner. Simply put, it is amazing from all angles.
Debut playwright Barbara Hostalek has penned a well-paced, believable script, interspersed with equal dosages of comedy and drama. Rather than being reduced to caricatures, her characters have real heart to them, which is what makes their conflict so immersive. The mysteries at the heart of the script (Who are these characters? What are their motives? What really happened that night at the footy) are revealed slowly, each having their moment to surprise the audience. Her vision was brought to vivid life under the eyes of director Hellie Turner, who truly brought the best out of her team.
With such great material to work with, it was a real pleasure to watch the three performers. Della Rae Morrison as Meeka and Talei Howell-Price as Jane were perfectly believable and even loveable; two very different types of mothers, but with more in common than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Kingsley Judd tied things together well as the mediator, facilitating the plot progression while shining with his energy and knack for comedic timing.
Banned was the sort of show you could enjoy in many ways. You could simply appreciate it as a well written, produced and performed story. It was that, but if you thought about it a bit more, it also said a lot about society and how we treat each other. It’s both timely and timeless, and not to be missed.