The ‘make it stop’ element of children’s music that adults recoil from manifests in an extreme and unexpected manner in Permission to Spin, when children’s entertainer Christobel (aka Miss Polkadot) seems destined to spin out of control on the eve of her winning Best Children’s Album of the year. Her producer and agent try to talk her down off the ledge, but only succeed in making matters worse.
The energy is high when the show starts, almost as high as the two male leads, who are going heavy on the nose candy that producer Martin (Yure Covich) insists on, just to complement the whisky presumably. Jim (Arky Michael) is reluctant, but Martin controls through bullying and violence, he expects the same of Miss Polkadot (Anna Houston) when she arrives. But Chrissy has lost her hard partying spirit and is harder to convince.
Anna Houston, Yure Covich and Arky Michael all immerse themselves in the roles and give vivid performances, the three take on the sometimes physically demanding material with chutzpah. Covich’s manic menacing of the other two is brutal, but they but are all cogs in the same sordid machine, trying to keep the machine going. Or so we think. Slick set design by Chris Baldwin allows the three plenty of room to air their grievances, and then some.
The high energy that initially draws us in alluring, but impossible to sustain for the entire proceedings and the play lags near the conclusion. A wicked humour keeps the play from becoming a drudge to watch though, with the ethics of the business that they are in questioned and found to be wanting. It is revealed that children’s music really is torture, as Miss Polkadot’s music has been used on a loop to abuse prisoners, but as Jim points out, the tormenters aren’t barbarians, they could have used Yoko Ono. Unexpected lines like this one cue big laughs. Because let’s face it, if you can’t laugh, you’d cry, and possibly never stop.
Writer Mary Rachel Brown also directs on this one, along with Dino Dimitriadis with Redline’s own Matthew Cheetham assisting, which must have made for a crowded set, though the end result is a play with much panache.
Permission to Spin is presented by Apocalypse Theatre and is on at the Old Fitz Theatre until 28 July, for more information and tickets see: https://www.redlineproductions.com.au/permission-to-spin/
Featuring: Yure Covich, Anna Houston and Arky Michael.
Creative/Tech Team: Mary Rachel Brown (writer/director), Dino Dimitradis (director/producer), Veronique Benett (lighting design), Chris Baldwin (set design), Isabella Cannavo (costume design), Matthew Cheetham (assistant director), Jennifer Humphries-Ford (stage management) and Thomas Murphy (producer).
above image by Robert Catto