Photo by Sarah Walker
The third show in Melbourne’s newest festival, the Poppy Seed Festival, Man With A Plan’s Gin Sister highlights the acting talents of three talented women in a poetic and often thought-provoking theatrical response to women’s drinking culture.
Originally inspired by Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters, the show draws from a wide range of influences, including Greek mythology and the lyrics of Amy Winehouse. Over a series of short vignettes directed by Elizabeth Millington – some storylines are a once off, while others continue over the course of the show – the three performers (Alice Cavanagh, Jean Goodwin and Emma Hall) bring these stories to life, through text, dance and song, with a great dedication and strength. Even when performing as a synchronised group, all three have dominant traits that shine through – Cavanagh is adorable and energetic, Goodwin is stern and sensual and Hall is calm and enchanting – meaning that the energy of the show never gets stale.
While the actual meanings behind each story aren’t always clear, it is actually when the performers are singing and dancing, rather than speaking, that the show really comes alive. The opening movement sequence is particularly striking, as is Cavanagh’s haunting rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier”. Shane Thompson’s set design is a striking sight with a stage littered in glasses that ascend to the ceiling, which when combined with Lucy Birkinshaw’s lighting design, makes it a visually stunning piece to watch.