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A cynical, sharply political deconstruction of the exploitative forces behind the fairytale juggernaut, memorably performed.

— REVIEW of ‘A Public Reading…’ | The Age

A Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney | Review

Cameron Woodhead | The Age
16 July, 2018

No fairytale endings in skewering of Disney


★★★.5


New York playwright Lucas Hnath is hot property after his play A Doll’s House, Part 2 – a sequel to Ibsen’s classic, if you can believe it – took Broadway by storm. That work will receive its Australian premiere at the MTC next month, but this strange little gem, part of the Provocare arts festival in Prahran, gives us reason to be tantalised.


The play’s full title is A Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. Cumbersome, but not false advertising: the dialogue is jam-packed with a screenplay’s directions and jargon, and performed by actors with scripts in their hands.


No prizes for guessing why the screenplay is ‘unproduced’: Walt (Tobias Manderson-Galvin) leaps onto the stage in whiteface, his cryonically frozen corpse reanimated like something from Game of Thrones and begins to rant in vacuous half-sentences. (Indeed, the play is largely written in that natural baseline for communication in the social media age: blurting.)


All the skeletons come out of Disney’s closet – throwing lemmings off cliffs (trying to simulate a non-existent natural phenomenon while shooting the nature doco White Wilderness), shafting workers left, right and centre, making dubious remarks about fascism.


Tobias Manderson-Galvin plays Walt as a manic dictator zombie clown: oversized, imperious, inarticulate, basically undead on an intellectual and affective level.


A cynical, sharply political deconstruction of the exploitative forces behind the fairytale juggernaut, memorably performed.

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE

“A cynical, sharply political deconstruction of the exploitative forces behind the fairytale juggernaut, memorably performed.”