Ellie, Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is the latest show in The Depot Theatre’s strong 2017 season. Brought to life after writer Monica Zanetti found that many of her LGBT friends felt under-represented in the genre of romantic comedy, she strived to create a story that would be accessible for both them and herself.
Ellie wants to ask her history assignment partner, Abbie, to the Year 10 formal but she isn’t quite sure if Abbie is even a lesbian, let alone interested in her. On top of this, she’s struggling with falling grades, detention and a difficult coming out to her mother. To guide her in her pubescent drama, Ellie’s dead Aunt Amber fantastically appears to her.
While the emotional moments throughout the script can tend towards the melodramatic, with some soap-opera-esque tendencies, the lighthearted scenes are easily the highlight. Particularly, scenes between Hawkshaw and Viswabathan, with all of their awkward stops and starts and honest dialogue are the stand out moments of the play. The combination of Zanetti’s clever comedic style and the incredible chemistry between the actresses is the centerpiece of this production.
The play does unbelievably well to modernise LGBT themes while also paying homage and respect to the struggles that the community has faced in the past. Despite the balance of these dynamics being a significant hurdle in contemporary LGBT entertainment, Ellie, Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) navigates these hurdles with ease. Perhaps the most endearing feature of the play is the fact that two girls in grade 10 falling in love in a public school in Australia is treated as so normal – so equal.
★ ★ ★ ☆☆
Presented by Feet First Ventures, Ellie, Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) runs at the Depot Theatre in Marrickville until the 8th of April. More information and ticketing can be found at http://thedepottheatre.com/ellie-abbie-ellie-s-dead-aunt
Cast: Monica Zanetti, Sophie Hawkshaw, Geraldine Viswanathan, Meagan Caratti, Margi De Ferranti.
Creative Team: Olga Markovic (Producer), Monica Zanetti (Writer/Director), Kaziah Knight (Stage Manager), Cara McPhie (Assistant Stage Manager), John Sullivan (Set Designer).