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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Chase (Malthouse Theatre) - 70 minutes without interval

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

Pushing the boundaries and then some is a bizarre piece of theatre conceived and performed by Carly Sheppard in the guise of a character known as Chase.

It is a persona she has worked with for a decade.

Photos by Shortcut Creative

The 70-minute production has anything but a straightforward narrative arc.

Chase is a larger-than-life character who wants to make the most of social media.

She swears like a trooper (including liberal use of the “c” word) and wears night terrors as a badge of honour.

Chase, 33, is keen to make something of her life.

She lives in a single bedroom flat, furnished with found objects.

That includes an old Telstra pay phone that doesn’t work, but constantly rings. Go figure.

Chase introduces us to her three doll friends.

The influencer with a model figure is known as Influenza or Fluey, for short. She is the equivalent of a barbie. We find out later that Fluey’s choice of life partner is demonic, in the literal sense of the word.

Sally Roundtree is – according to Chase – the voice of reason, who she can only take in small doses.

Traditional girl, described by Chase as a “real aborigine”, is her ancestor and spirit god, who comes complete with a crow on her shoulder.

Chase is constantly live streaming episodes of her life and encouraging those watching to “like and subscribe”.

Mind you, the take up is hardly significant.

Although she calls herself special, Chase is largely friendless, but she still decides to host “a party to end all parties”, where she will be both the guest of honour and the headline act.

With Fluey on her side, she is on the lookout for a hot date for the party and swipes right when she finds Trent, only Fluey takes advantage of the situation.

In fact, the event ends up being a living nightmare.

Suffice to say that the future is looking grim.

Chase presents as lonely and disillusioned.

Working closely with director Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Carly Sheppard dishes up something that shocks and delights in equal measure … if you are up for it. Clearly, she has a fertile imagination.

You need to be broad minded and appreciate the absurd to get something out of Chase. It is a show for selective tastes.

Sheppard is a bundle of pent-up energy and emotion. She throws herself into the role and plays with us, the audience, throughout, taking on the guise of the characters I have described.

She writhes, climbs, cajoles, strips and meditates, and makes the stage her own.

It is up to you to determine what you make of the material presented.

See it as satire or social commentary, if you are so inclined.

And just a quick word about the set. Designer Smallsound has fitted a great deal into a small space.

It is an amalgam of odds and sods, in keeping with the tenor of the production.

Projections and video footage frequently populate the flat brown cardboard that constitutes the wall of the apartment.

Chase is playing at Malthouse Theatre until 20th March, 2022.


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