Laurinda - Melbourne Theatre Company

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Posted 2022-08-16 by Mistress of Culture Vulturesfollow

Sat 06 Aug 2022 - Sat 10 Sep 2022

Don't miss the larger-than-life teenage comedy-drama Laurinda, on now at Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) in Southbank. Book your tickets here .

Lucy Lam (Ngoc Pham) is a teenage girl who lives in 'Stanley'. Her Mum (Chi Nguyen) spends long days sewing brand labelled fashion in the garage for cash, while Dad (Roy Phung) works in a factory.

Lucy is extremely articulate and applies for a scholarship to 'Laurinda Ladies College' and is accepted. This means Lucy has to leave her local school 'Christ Our Saviour' and all her friends, especially Tully (Jenny Zhou) and Linh (Gemma Chua-Tran).

Lucy's family are very surprised and proud of her success and tell all their friends. However Laurinda is a 'culture shock' for Lucy. Xenophobia is rife at the college, requiring Lucy to jump through more hoops than non-scholarship students and prove her 'place' in the institution.

The principal Mrs Grey (Georgina Naidu) tells Lucy she is the 'inaugural equal access student' and as the school is 'gambling on an unknown quantity' she is required to attend 'remedial classes' in English with Mrs Leslie (Fiona Choi). Lucy complies and tolerates the remedial classes even though she is 'beyond her years and peers' in English language and literature. But this is just the start of a series of uncomfortable learning experiences.

Lucy witnesses the nasty behaviour of 'The Cabinet' – a gang of 'Laurinda' girls Amber Leslie (Chi Nguyen) Brodie (Gemma Chua-Tran), and Chelsea White (Jenny Zhou) who are from wealthy families. They continually pull awful pranks on her favourite teacher Mr Vanderwep (Roy Phung) and bully other students. They hold the power in the college and can get away with anything as their parents fund the scholarships and Laurinda's existence.

But Lucy has a secret weapon, her alter ego 'Linh' (Gemma Chua-Tran), a rebellious spirit who pushes Lucy beyond fear and crippling anxiety to take on challenges and risks. Linh is energetic and turns up unannounced to give her advice. She is larger than life appearing 'magically' around the stage.

Laurinda illuminates the challenges and difficulties, migrant, refugee or asylum seeker families can experience when settling in Australia. The play takes the migrant experience and amplifies unconscious bias, prejudice and racism which pervade the dominant culture through the vehicle of comedy. The farce of Laurinda Ladies College is contrasted with the reality of post Vietnam war family migration stories(Alice Qin). A poignant moment in the play is when Lucy's Mum (Chi Nguyen) tells her story of their escape from Vietnam in her own dialect, which is a testament to the strength and courage of the many people who take great risks to seek safety in another country.

Brilliantly devised by Diana Nguyen and directed by Petra Kalive, Laurinda is an energetic and larger-than-life stage production. The execution of the performance is a mere miracle with excellent movement direction by Xanthe Beesley and stage management by Christine Bennett, Brittany Coombs, Whitney McNamara and Lucie Sutherland. See the show, and you will understand more.

The cast is fantastic, playing two to four characters each and they don't miss a beat during the 100 minute performance with no interval. There are not to be missed dance-offs (Vietcharm Traditional Dance Group) to anthems of the 90's (Marco Cher-Gibard), 'bold and gold' costumes (Karine Larche) and amazing magical illusions created through exquisite digital, set (Eugyeene Teh) AV (Justin Gardam), composition(Roshelle Fong) and lighting design (Rachel Lee).

In Laurinda, our heroine Lucy Lam proves that success is not always dependent on where you were born, but more about your inner strength, character and values.

#theatre -reviews
!date 06/08/2022 -- 10/09/2022
147775 - 2023-06-14 00:55:43


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