Atlantis means different things to different people. For playwright Lally Katz, it means her childhood in suburban Miami, where the ocean meets the land.
In this world premiere, Lally Katz’s glorious new work Atlantis delves deep into her life and past experiences to take audiences on a whirlwind journey of epic proportions. Dreamlike, turgid, sometimes crazy and often funny, Katz’s new work is full of heart.
The play picks up where Katz’s previous work, Stories I Want To Tell You In Person, ended. 35-year-old Lally (played exquisitely by Amber McMahon) is heading back to the US to demand a refund from a psychic who removed a curse from her vagina. Lally’s life has become chaotic, and she longs for a simpler time, longs for her childhood, longs for her innocence.
McMahon as Lally is an absolute dream. Her seemingly endless supplies of energy and dynamism allow this two-and-a-half hour production to fly by smoothly. McMahon is fast cementing herself as one of the country’s comedy powerhouses.
Supporting McMahon are four actors superbly playing the various colourful characters Lally encounters along the way – Paula Arundell, Hazem Shammas, Lucia Mastrantone and Matthew Whittet. Between them, they play nearly 40 roles.
Almost managing to scene steal from McMahon is Arundell as sketchy Air BnB host Electra, who believes she’s destined to be with Kanye West. Mastrantone is hilarious as dodgy psychic Bella and easily bought Uber driver Alex. Shammas certainly proves his stamina as randy Texan Diego, and Whittet pulls on the heart strings as Lally’s grandfather Pop-op.
As previously stated, Katz’s play is of epic proportions. There are countries, cities, bedrooms, cars, shops, doctor’s surgeries, mountains, oceans and highways, to name a few. She says in the beginning, “It is up to the director and designers how to create this. Good luck!”
Director Rosemary Myers and designer Jonathan Oxlade could well have been bamboozled upon reading the script. No judgement! But if they were, it didn’t show. They cleverly found a way to give Katz’s ephemeral play a physical voice in this funny, inventive production.
At times incredibly touching, and at times incredibly weird, Atlantis isn’t for the faint-hearted. It can be easy to lose a grip on reality, as Lally fumbles her way through the dreamscape her playwright self has created for her.
But through it all, Lally Katz still proves herself a brilliant writer and observer. And I’m going to start taking pictures of everything, you know, for writing purposes…
Alana Kaye – Theatre Now & On The Town
28 Oct – 26 Nov 2017
Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm
Thursday & Friday 8pm
Saturday 2pm & 8pm
8pm, 28 October
6.30pm, 29 October
8pm, 31 October
Opening Night (invitation only)
8pm, 1 November
2pm, 23 November
3pm, 22 October
Venue: Belvoir Theatre: Upstairs Theatre
Theatre Company: Belvoir
Lally Katz is on a journey. She’s left Australia behind and she’s in the country of her childhood, trying to find a way back to when things were innocent. Her relationships are chaotic, her professional life is a shambles and contemporary America seems riddled with charlatans and shysters. But along the way moments of wisdom bubble up, as if from some lost ancient city beneath the waves off Florida…
Five women play the myriad characters of Lally’s life: ageing Jewish grandparents in Miami, wizened taxi drivers, cynical prophets, unhappy pharmacists, clowns, hip-hop artistes, narcissists, angels, animals – and, of course, Lally herself.
Lally mixes dreaming as a playwright and dreaming as a person – there’s no line between them. This one’s about her, travelling into a mess of love and America, refusing to accept the world is doomed. The whirligig of this latter-day Don Quixote is bursting with playfulness, with imagination – Lally seems to be saying that’s what will save us all and make this bleak world beautiful. – Eamon
Writer Lally Katz
Director Rosemary Myers
Set & Costume Designer Jonathon Oxlade
Stage Manager Keiren Smith
Assistant Stage Manager Roxzan Bowes