Somewhere in between Melbourne and Miami (and her right ovary) lurked another play in Lally Katz, and that play is Atlantis. In this semi-autobiographical play, Lally travels from Melbourne to New York, Kansas and Miami, where the dreamscape of her childhood takes over and carries her on a journey of self-discovery, before finally arriving in Las Vegas. She is armed with not much more than the garden-variety neuroses of a thirty-something woman, plus a dreamy panther. Lally finds herself drawn to the nautical fable of Atlantis and several people that she meets in her travels serendipitously feed her imagination and belief in a return to the aquatic utopia.
The vivacious Amber McMahon plays Lally, while the ensemble cast all perform double-duty as the family and various oddballs who form Lally’s coterie. McMahon’s energy is tremendous, she is in every scene and she never flags. Her New York circle of friends and acquaintances are funny up to a point, but unfortunately the more you try to dress up real people as characters the less laughable and more ludicrous they tend to become. A couple of the characters in Atlantis are dangerously close to ludicrous with their overworked New York accents and eccentric appearances. Highlights included Paula Arundell as Electra, an Air BNB host who takes more than just a protective interest in Lally.
Like the abundance of the never-ending buffet in the Land of the Free and Brave, Atlantis offers up a smorgasbord of themes and preoccupations that crowd the action: global warning, infertility, identity, all with the demands of family thrown on top of it all. The whimsy that Katz employed so successfully in The Cat is far too drawn out here and the emotional depth and poignancy that made Neighbourhood Watch so endearing was mostly absent. While it was very funny at times, it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous by the play’s end, and felt at times disturbingly like a female Jack Kerouac on an acid trip.
Featuring: Paula Arundell, Lucia Mastrantone, Amber McMahon, Hazem Shammas, and Matthew Whittet.
Creative Team: Lally Katz (writer), Rosemary Myers (director), Jonathan Oxlade (set & costume design), Damien Cooper (lighting design), Henry Covill (composer and sound), Paige Walker (dialect coach), Sara Black (movement director), Sally Withnell (production manager), Aiden Brennan (technical manager), Roxzan Bowes (deputy production manager), Keiran Smith (stage manager), Georgiane Deal (assistant stage manager) and Raine Paul (senior technician).
Atlantis is on until 26 November, for more information and tickets see: https://belvoir.com.au/productions/atlantis/?gclid=Cj0KCQiArYDQBRDoARIsAMR8s_QYKWjmFtIboMFgQsUvZjnl-fqqGRa7LiiPgTTuq8j9PppkkaeMfrMaAgiEEALw_wcB#reviews
above image by Daniel Boud