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The State - The Blue Room Theatre

Reviewed by Jack Bengough


The State is an original work directed by Marli Jupiter and co-written by Jupiter and Rhi Bryan, the production was originally created for The Blue Room’s 600 Seconds Season and has now been expanded into a 120-minute production. Self-described as ‘a work about revolution,’ The State is a political satire that primarily incorporates elements of drag and puppetry to tell the story of the radicalisation of a common citizen in a politically corrupt country.

The production opens with the introduction of the ‘Daddies’ of the country's four states: This, That, Which, and What (performed by Lucy Wong, Rhi Bryan, Mazey O’Reilly and Jo Cooper respectively); these State Daddies are depicted as homogeneous clowns, only differentiated by the different colours of their outfits who despite being split into two opposing political parties still delight in each other’s company. The State Daddies ultimately all serve their Mummy (Bronte Frances), whom the Daddies compete for the attention of via the introduction of policies that please her. The other side of the play's narrative follows Flung About (Lucy Wong), a common citizen who journeys across the various states following the death of their mother. On their journey, Flung encounters many people and situations that gradually radicalize them. While the Daddies are very entertaining and their behaviour is dripping with resonant political satire, Flung’s story is incredibly thought-provoking and presents the audience with more tangible ideas regarding the society we live in and the ways the actions of the populace can influence greater change. As a whole, the narrative lampoons current social and political issues and discusses things that a socially conscious member of society can do to involve themselves in change, but also takes care to not offer easy answers to complicated questions.

The production's narrative and strong performances are held up by excellent production design. With the help of puppets and masks, the cast of five effortlessly embodies over a dozen characters to an almost dizzying degree. Leisl Lucerne-Knight’s designs, ranging from charming to Eldritch Horror, teamed with various voices and physicalities adopted by the cast made each of these characters feel fresh and unique. The original score, composed by Lara Pollard, provides an eclectic soundscape that elevates many scenes, especially those that strongly incorporate dance (and these scenes are also enhanced by Nat Mijat’s excellent lighting design). The addition of these elements makes this not just a show that is entertaining and thought-provoking but also one that is clearly made by some of Perth’s finest theatre-makers.

You can catch The State through to the 25th of May at The Blue Room Theatre.

Mazey O’Reilly (Which Daddy), Rhi Bryan (What Daddy), Lucy Wong (This Daddy) and Jo Cooper (That Daddy). Image credit: Emmason Tucker

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.



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