like watching a friend get really drunk and embarrass herself

— REVIEW of ‘The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe” | The Guardian

The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ | Review

Maxine Mellor | The Guardian
20 Sep, 2013

Now The Wizard of Oz is open, I am seeking out new writing and newly-minted shows. Often playing in the quirky, smaller venues (Metro Arts and the QUT Theatre Republic), these shows offer big surprises in form and inventiveness with space…

The charming, low-fi, The Unspoken Word is Joe is like watching a friend get really drunk and embarrass herself. You don’t really want to watch, but you do anyway, because you can’t quite believe things could turn so bad. And it’s funny, in that awkward kind of way. Staged on a “borrowed” set, the show is presented as if it is a play reading of a new work by a promising young writer (Zoey Dawson, who is also reading the lead part). There were stifled guffaws from the get-go as the do-gooder facilitator introduced the show.

We are told it is about relationships, but very quickly learn they aren’t the healthy sort – as relations between the cast members go gloriously awry with lines in the supposed script touching raw nerves. After a series of tantrums, tragic flirting, drinking, and revelations, Dawson is left sobbing in the arms of the ill-prepared-yet-strangely-comforting facilitator, and the audience leaves with a sense of relief that (hopefully) we haven’t shamed themselves quite so publicly.

“like watching a friend get really drunk and embarrass herself.”