Dry Land

St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre

Quiet Raw

Irene Mitchell Studio
November 21, 2023 – November 26, 2023
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*Warning* This review contains spoilers and graphic content

Audiences 16+. Contains strong language, references to suicide, drug use, abortion, self-harm, violence and scenes with blood.

As I entered the theatre at the St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre I was immediately immersed in the set of the girls locker room of their swimming club.  The set was in the middle of the space while the audience sat on either side giving it a very off-Broadway sort of feel.  The cleverly designed set of painted tiles and lockers was very realistic and effective.  The lighting (Richard Vabre – Lighting Design) was simple yet highly effective not and didn’t get in the way of the performances or the story.  

To the cast, led spectacularly by Georgia Latchford as Amy.  Her portrayal was heartfelt and gut wrenching as she played a confused, struggling character trying to discover her body and keep herself in shape as a competitive swimmer.  Amongst all this, she is young and also pregnant but the most gut wrenching part of the whole thing is we discover she’s desperately trying to give herself an abortion and the bleeding scene on stage is hard to watch but also very well done as it stays dignified but very relevant and I feel needed to be seen.  

As her friend and swimming team mate is Arianna Walley asEster. Ester also deals with her own situation of abuse and struggling to deal with her own body image.  Arianna’s performance is beautiful, humorous and extremely vulnerable as she tries to keep on a brave face.  The scene with her talking about her rash and trying to impress her coach is another hard moment to watch, this scene deals with her being abused and how she really struggles with her body because of it.  

The supporting cast round out the show perfectly with Claudia Hruschka as Reba who is a welcome bit of relief from the dark storyline as she plays the innocent teammate not really aware of what’s happening with Ester and Amy.  

Spike Johnson plays male friend Victor with kindness and softness as he tries his best to be friendly to Ester while also trying his best to be too confronting to her physically.  His performance is perfect.  

Another gut wrenching moment that was done well was Laurence Corneschi as the Janitor.  The scene of him cleaning up the blood after the abortion scene was again confronting but artistic at the same time, only done with music, no dialogue and no other actors on stage.  

Director Erica Chestnut should be highly commended for telling this story in a way I felt needed to be told without sugarcoating or hiding.  Her vision of very real issues with young women was told with both dignity and vulnerability.  I congratulate on a very well crafted production.  

Matthew Sheahan

Matthew Sheahan

Matthew Sheahan is an active performer on the community theatre scene having performed in musical theatre for almost 20 years all over Melbourne. He is also a vocal coach and has also written and performed his own cabaret shows.
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