In the midst of another heat wave in Melbourne, the inside of St Kilda's Theatre Works mirrors the sun-bleached and not-so-wholesome streets of the suburb's urban beachside. Brought to you by Zeb Fontaine Theatre as a part of Midsumma Festival, AntigoneX is an irreverent and queer adaptation of the Greek tragedy Antigone written by Sophocles.
With Australian politics as the play's target, award-winning writer and co-director Zachary Dunbar helps us to laugh instead of cry at the tragic state this country is in. Familiar sites Australians hoped they had erased reappear in the form of a power-hungry leader fond of tiny Speedo swimsuits — an interpretation of the character Creon, as played by Nick Clark — determined to secure his 'superior' male lineage through cloning his own DNA into a chorus of 'Bondi Boys' who still can't manage to satisfy his needs.
Louisa Wall delivers a stand-out performance as a dishevelled Cabaret singer named Dee Tritus. Clad in a ball gown made from garbage bags, she narrates each act through rhyming songs and interacts with the cast with a cheeky, foul-mouthed demeanour.
AntigoneX is for fans of the classic story; at times the plot is buried among the fabulous and fast-paced exchanges between characters, with a few references to popular tragedies like Euripides' Medea.
While the storyline is complicated, this chaos creates space for the absurdity of characters who are all too real in American and Australian politics; claims such as 'fake news' and 'lesbians don't exist' are familiar to audiences and easy to follow.