Bakehouse Theatre
Until 14 Mar 2020

Review by Helen Karakulak

Directed by Carly Fisher, this production of Gita Bezard’s “Girl Shut Your Mouth” encompasses a world of desperation through use of dynamic staging, expressive characterisation and engaging dialogue.

This dark comedy follows four friends navigating jealously, boys and education in a world that pits physical and sexual violence against them at every turn. This world teaches them that speaking up means getting shut up, and few girls live to tell their tales.

The show begins after Katie, played by Kobi Taylor-Forder, gets shot in the back of the head. With her bullet comes the promise of a new life, of an escape to a place that’s better, so long as she has proof of how bad her current one really is. This poses the question, ‘what makes young girls worthy of refuge?’

This performance asks more questions than it answers, but what it lacks in exposition, it makes up for in character work.

Kaylee Ashton shines as the bubbly Mia. From entertaining expressive gestures and jovial movements amongst friends to a moment of blunt vulnerability, Ashton’s performance reflects the highs and lows of their lives.

Sophie Strykowski as Grace and Antonia Korn as Darcy offer dynamic performances of clashing ideals, pitting recklessness for a chance of a better life against playing it safe to protect yourself.

The projection and characterisation of the four girls alternating between playing male figures is a highlight of the production. Their well-choreographed synchronised movements and booming voices enhance storytelling during peak moments of conflict. Conversely, there’s a nice juxtaposition between the dominating moments of heightened tensions and the discussion of their real fears in casual conversations. These casual conversations use teenage colloquialisms, effectively reminding audiences that everyday injustices are disrupting the lives of these four young girls, even if they’re not as obvious.

Well-choreographed movements, vibrant lighting-changes and use of props are effective in making this production exciting throughout. The costume choices are particularly interesting, as the girls wear sleeved shirts or bike shorts under their playsuits in an attempt to be more conservative and fit in as they should.

This thought-provoking production, captivating and creatively begs viewers to open their minds and hearts to girls like Katie, Grace, Mia and Darcy. Gita Bezard’s “Girl Shut Your Mouth” will inspire you to do just the opposite, and rather open a conversation reflecting on prejudice practices to ask why, or why not?

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)