elaborate and dreamlike... fantastically inarticulate.

— REVIEW of ‘186000’ | The Age

186,000 | Review

Cameron Woodhead | The Age
Dec 12, 2016
Two and A Half Stars

Richmond Theatrette
Until December 17

Gay men seem to be over-represented on Melbourne’s queer theatre scene, though if you scratch the surface, some of our most compelling work exploring this area (The Rabble’s take on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, say) has been made by women. It just doesn’t label itself as queer.

The inconvenience and insufficiency of labels, in fact, is one of the motifs in Kerith Manderson-Galvin’s 186,000. An important piece of verbatim theatre, it draws on the experience of some of the less limelight-hogging letters in our diverse LGBTIQ community.

An ensemble of four performers (Kerith Manderson-Galvin, Trelawney Edgar, Harvey Zielinski​ and Shamita Sivabalan​) – among them young lesbians and a transgendered actor – enter a stage painted with a Wild West backdrop.

A prolonged sequence of physical theatre ensues, starting casually, becoming more elaborate and dreamlike as thoughts on gender and sexuality, in written and spoken form, emerge.

These are often fantastically inarticulate, and the contrast between them and the posed, repetitive visual theatre seems intended to have a similar avant-garde ambit (on a much smaller scale) to something like Nature Theatre of Oklahoma’s Life and Times.

Inarticulacy, of course, can be as potent as eloquence. A bisexual woman gets to the heart of the matter when she expresses frustration at having no way of coming out, without sounding like “a lecture in Queer Theory 101”.

“elaborate and dreamlike… fantastically inarticulate.”