Review: Life Etc.: All Together Now at Empire Theatre (Toowoomba)

Image: Empire Theatre

And so, tonight to the theatre again – this time to Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre Studio and part of a full house for David Burton’s new play Life Etc. part of the theatre’s Home Grown Series of new worksIt’s also the first work from the collective All Together Now who ‘aim to create more “gutsy and juicy” roles for women within the theatre industry in Queensland and strongly believe in supporting women in theatre.’ (programme note)

It’s always exciting to be seeing a new work: no preconceptions, just an open road to travel for (in this case) 75 or so minutes with the two protagonists Tash (Emily Curtin) and Karen (Kate Murphy).  

Tash has screwed up in her job at Centrelink. Her boss Karen has to fire her but not before they spend an evening fixing up reams of paperwork – coloured papers which are sifted and sorted. Tash and Karen work surrounded by piles and piles of cardboard boxes – a clever (if uncredited) set design which contains various prop pieces brought out into the action.

As the papers are sorted Tash brings out the brownies and Karen a bottle of wine. They eat, drink and share some often uncomfortable personal facts with each other. Their interaction is, by turn, light and sombre although, in the opening minutes, there are a couple of bits of juvenilia and clowning about that make the play appear a tad insecure about itself. However, the old farting jokes had the audience rollicking, and an otherwise apparently mature man besides me fell apart at the mention of the word, ‘poo.’ But it’s not all light sitcom or  girly D&M stuff; the play itself gets far more interesting as a piece of theatre when it goes beyond Tash and Karen’s after-hours shift at Centrelink. Continue reading Review: Life Etc.: All Together Now at Empire Theatre (Toowoomba)