Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
Three Foreign Men and a White Christmas in Germany
Europe Won't Fix You is a punchy and theme-driven cabaret built from feminine perspectives and expectations of the European back-packer experience. Travellers of all genders and ages will relate to these monologues and misadventures.
Europe Won't Fix You, now playing at The Butterfly Club, is an hour of madcap fun from The General Public Theatre. As their name suggests, the focus on of this Sydney-based independent company is to present real people's stories on stage and to find universality within each adventure and misadventure. Europe Won't Fix You was a winner of Anywhere Theatre Festival 'Audience Choice' Award 2017 and enjoyed sold-out shows in both Sydney and Brisbane. They have merited attention from theatre critics in the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and Melbourne's Butterfly Club will once again host the show for the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September.
Hannah, Kimberley, Alicia, Caity and Tasha are all engaging performers and Europe Won't Fix You needs to be acclaimed for its pace and continuity. Script-development is clearly collaborative, united by vision and superbly structured to honour each artist's strengths, be they acting as soloists, duos or within the 5-member ensemble. The General Public is an all-female review that openly exhibits a feminine style of comedy theatre that has democratic, tag-team bursts of creativity.
The General Public theatre is a troupe who offset each other superbly. Company artists are: Hannah Grace Fulton, Kimberley Greaves, Alicia Dulnuan-Demou, Caity Booth and Tasha O'Brien.
Europe Won't Fix You centres on the '20-somethings' women's' experience of back-packing through Europe. By focussing on real women's lives and 'headspace', the show presents universal travel and personal development themes that go way beyond the millennium demographic. The General Public have been diligent in compiling the most common stories and has carefully balanced them with comedic light-and-shade story-telling. Essentially, the format is a series of monologues, a style which particularly in the first part of the show borders on 'essayist' and could benefit from a tighter edit. However, the show gets tighter and more compelling as it progresses, as the themes take on comedic poignancy and characters develop insight and self-reflection through misadventure.
The show's themes are part of every woman's DNA. Getting over heartbreak; sexuality and sexual experiences; group travel; self-identity and discovery; as well as the 'highs' of travel and the real lows- dramatised as 'the night after the highs' and the constant bowel challenges with which every traveller is well-acquainted. The audience easily relates to content, characters, scenarios and sketches in a way that raises the energy of Europe Won't Fix You to be a great, fun night out. The General Public have really got the mix right- riotous laughter leaves no doubt as to the success and appeal of this show.
The vision of this show is: 'how and why young women travel and what their experiences reveal about themselves, to themselves and in the company of one another'.
I was impressed with the way that writers worked with the theme of 'discovering sexuality': it is an important travel-imperative for the 20s demographic, and on the one hand it is raw – but it is not treated indulgently or included as lip-service. Perspective is offered- and audience reflection and interpretation allowed. At all times, the company stick to their vision, which is how and why young women travel and what their experiences reveal about themselves, to themselves and in the company of one another.
The story-driven content is cleverly edited so that men in the audience (on the night I was there, it was about a 50-50 ratio) are as equally amused as the women. In part, this is due to the inclusion of physical comedy and melodramatic licence which makes feminine anguish over love-lost and romantic heartbreak, hilarious. The ability to create real and likeable characters who are not afraid to laugh at themselves shows that The General Public understand the essence of comedy.
Europe Won't Fix You has enjoyed a 4-night season at Melbourne's Butterfly Club and will return as part of the Fringe Festival in September.
Hannah Grace Fulton's stirring rendition of Janis Joplin's Cry Baby attracted laugh-out-loud, audience rapture. It is hilarious because it is an accurate depiction of how women, 'home alone and heart-broken': may lip-sync the druggy-dosed woes of 'love gone wrong'. It is the ultimate 'drama queen moment': a base reality stretched for as much mileage as you can get and turns Europe Won't Fix You into a farcical winner. The General Public troupe give this timeless lounge-room scene a touch of travel modernity with IPhone cameras posed to post the video straight onto Facebook.
Hannah Grace Fulton gives a stirring rendition of Janis Joplin's Cry Baby.
Conversely, Tasha O'Brien created a low-key character who was equally as engaging for her 'everywoman appeal'. She spoke 'straight' and with her delivery timed and measured to audience response, inspired real and honest connection. Tasha's skits took the audience into her world of travel and she gave back – even offering reflection from YouTube hits such as 'sexual planking'. Her style was almost conversational and it is a refreshing interlude. These two artists, in particular, have a very natural on-stage persona and many strings to their acting credentials. They really 'got their characters' right as well as just the themes, story and content.
Europe Won't Fix You has enjoyed a 4-night season at Melbourne's Butterfly Club and ends Sunday 20th. If you miss it this time around, you can grab them again at the upcoming Fringe Festival in September. Europe Won't Fix You is a sign of great work to come: watch this company closely.
The style of writing and performing is very feminine which is what you expect from all all-female theatre company: this is a bit like a well-drilled netball team- everyone has a role to play and blend strategically to create a winning show.