an outstanding achievement
The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ | Review
Benjamin Meyer | The Music
24 Feb, 2015
FOUR AND A HALF STARS
MKA presents The Unspoken Word Is ‘Joe’ at Carlton’s La Mama Theatre.
Written by Zoey Dawson, the play follows the reading of a new work by the main character Zoey Dawson (played on stage by Nikki Shiels). After a protracted introduction by the self-obsessed Natasha Herbert (barely interrupted by hammering and drilling occurring next door) the reading quickly descends to trainwreck proportions as Dawson’s relationship with the other characters and the audience unravels.
The work pulls the wings off the manic pixie dream girl trope, delivering a blistering critique of gender roles in the process. Shiels’ performance is phenomenal as she descends into a vulnerable, self-obsessed mess ultimately craving to be accepted by her peers and the audience. Herbert, furthermore, is fantastic in her role as pseudo-mentor to Dawson, commanding the stage and the audience’s attention.
The writing is fantastic and the structure as it swaps between “real life” and “reading” while held together by a coherent narrative is an outstanding achievement. Declan Greene builds on this through his nuanced and strong direction. From the staged/real slap between Dawson and her boyfriend Aaron Orzech to the finale, the action is tight and never boring.
The Unspoken Word Is ‘Joe’ is a great show. Despite being its fifth remount, the work is still fresh and engaging. Get a ticket if you can.