There is an idea, though not a new one, that to be famous in America you have to kill someone, preferably someone who is already famous. This will ensure more than fifteen minutes of fame, though in the wake of so many shootings in recent times, it is hard now to believe that everyone with a gun that is prepared to use it will go down in history.
Home Invasion weaves the stories of three women together: June aka Paula, demented fan of her namesake Paula Abdul; murdered child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey; and Carroll, who becomes the object of obsession for her husband’s young lover. The links between the women are tenuous at first, but writer Christopher Bryant pulls them together in a coup that successfully marries pop culture with social satire.
The play takes off at high-speed and bubbles away with stylish intensity, the ‘one way or another I’ll be famous’ mentality is fraught with danger though as the action lurches from train wreck to train wreck in the lives of these clearly troubled women. June/Paula auditions for American Idol, when she is spotted she is used as one of the comic highlights as her lack of talent is exploited by producers while she remains blissfully ignorant and hopeful of having a singing career.
Though many will be unfamiliar with the stories in Home Invasion and the raison d’être for the whole thing is at first murky, it is a triumph of quirky over credible. Set design by Jeremy Allen is slick while lighting by Alexander Berlage, who also directed, lends hyper and funky style.
The ensemble cast all perform with intensity and humour, sending up the reality television judges and the talent-less contestants beautifully. Paula Abdul-wannabe June-bug, played by Kate Cheel is in turns heart-breaking and hilarious in her quest for fame.
Berlage’s niche in the Sydney theatre scene is fast becoming a place of wonder and wit, all delivered with chic and unique design. This is another not to miss night of theatre.
Home Invasion is presented by an assorted few and is on until 7 April, for more information and tickets see: https://old505theatre.com/shows/home-invasion-1510961252.html
Featuring: Chloe Bayliss, Kate Cheel, Yure Covich, Morgan Maguire, Wendy Mocke and Cecilia Morrow.
Creative/Tech Team: Christopher Bryant (writer), Alexander Berlage (director), Jeremy Allen (set design), Ellen Stanistreet (costume), Ben Pierpoint (sound), Ellen Simpson (choreography), Scott Witt (fight chorography), Linda Nicholls-Gidley (dialect coach), Ruby O’Kelly (associate producer), Paisley Williams (stage manager),Colin Emerton (set construction), Luke D’Allessandro (JonBenet wig), Intense Lighting (lighting hire), Dino Dimitriadis (publicity) and Robert Catto (photography).
Above image by Robert Catto