Wogs in Love at the Judith Wright Centre bills itself as Romeo & Juliet meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding. While it doesn't exactly live up to that standard, it is a comedy with enough jokes and relevance to make it worth seeing. Most importantly, standing out from a good cast, is an outstanding performance by Melanie Bolovan. She steals the show and carries the play simply by being on stage.
With talk of Valiants and Holdens, houses that feature landline phones and crises over cross-cultural relationships, this is a story set in a different era, I would guess, the 1980s. Yet the story has some resonance in today's multi-cultural Australia.
Basically, David, from a working class Australian family, and Anna, from a traditional Greek family, are in love and want to be together. But they will have tp convince their parents that this is a good thing and that marrying for love, not tradition, is what matters.
There would have been a time when this play provided an insight into a different world for many Australians, but today it really reflects our lives. The laughs come from looking into other cultures and our own as well as making fun of stereotypes, attitudes, generations and expectations.
The play is funny, reasonably relevant and innocuous enough to not offend anyone. It is a play well worth seeing, but the story lacks courage and there is no big payoff ending.
There is one simple reason to see this play and that is the outstanding performance of Melanie Bolovan. She carries the entire performance in every scene that she is in. This is not to say that the other actors are not good and capture their characters, but any scene where she is not on the stage is less interesting than when she is present. This isn't just when she is talking, but when she is reacting to others as well.
Just based on this performance, we can expect to see a lot more from this very talented young performer who, sings, dances, composes and writes. Though I am sure she will do wonderfully in whatever role she takes in the performing arts, she is at home at the stage.
About the Judith Wright Centre
Located on Brunswick Street, this is a great location for a theatre, surrounded by restaurants, though if you want something Greek before the show you will have to head up to the centre of fortitude valley.