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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

SLAP. BANG. KISS. (MTC) - 60 minutes

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

They’re living in a totalitarian State, where Big Brother is everywhere.

There’s a 6pm curfew that must be met.

Drones hover overhead, tanks roam the streets and “peacekeepers” ensure the law is obeyed.

But there is a great deal of discontent and anger at being “caged”.

One 16-year-old, Immy Marcus (Tsungirai Wachenuka), who feels the pain of her mother, brother, cousin and grandmother says enough is enough and takes a stand.

Slap. She takes an open hand to a peacekeeper.

It’s a slap that is set to resonate far and wide.

Photos by Tiffany Garvie

Sofia (Sarah Fitzgerald) is sitting in class not really engaged.

They’re still on famous speeches by Shakespeare when she receives a text message telling her to “get out”.

Next thing you know, the fire alarm goes off, but there is no real alarm until it doesn’t stop.

That’s when a figure appears in the doorway carrying a gun.

Moments later, “bang”. Sofia slumps to the ground. She’s been shot and blood is pouring from her wound.

She has become the victim of yet another school shooting.

Soon she will be urging the powers that be not to accept the status quo and enact real change.

According to his friend Jasmin, Darby (Conor Leach) is a “weedy gay redhead”.

He has designs on Daniel Koh, “a hot rebel with a mullet”, who reciprocates Darby's feelings.

The pair is about to make a world record attempt in a small town Woolworths’ carpark.

That will require 37 hours – one non-stop kiss that will be live streamed.

Two hours in, a homosexual slur accompanied by a thrown object will have unintended consequences.

Three separate teenage stories with something in common. These are not just moments in time, but the beginning of movements.

Actions have consequences and nothing is going to be the same as it was.

While the concept of seemingly disparate yarns intersecting is nothing new, it remains a powerful artistic device.

With only minimalistic staging to work with (20 faux concrete blocks and 16 flags), we’re left primarily with the narrative and the performances thereof to carry the day, which they do … and very well.

The wordsmith is Dan Giovannoni, while direction is from Katy Maudlin.

The actors are readily able to channel the full range of emotions in the piece, borne from outrage, anger, fear, confusion, resolve and achievement.

Each fill multiple roles as friends and associates of the three characters at the heart of the respective vignettes.

I was particularly impressed by the delivery and stage craft of Tsungirai Wachenuka.

She appears to be a natural performer who has an authenticity about her.

Sarah Fitzgerald and Conor Leach also manage to successfully channel the spirit of their respective personas.

SLAP. BANG. KISS. sheets home the message that while taking a stand often brings with it inherent dangers, it can also make a world of difference.

Further, society needs to grow and evolve for the good of mankind.

The hour-long production is on at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler until 30th April, 2022.


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