The Breakout at The Mill
Until 16 Mar 2019

Review by John Wells

Presented at the 2019 Adelaide Fringe Festival

Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are… what? Lovers? Getting a spray tan? Moving to Klemzig? Before I double-checked the Fringe Guide, I presumed this was the Stoppard classic with some lazy proof-reading. But no. It is a self-devised work by Poppy Mee, a group of energetic, enthusiastic Adelaide theatre makers. (Reading between the lines of their publicity material, it appears that Poppy Mee’s ambitions to produce the Stoppard play were thwarted when the rights were not available.)

This is fast, funny, self-aware theatre. With a loose overarching concept of an all-woman production of Hamlet, this production covers essential existential questions with a good dose of youthful angst. There are some lovely moments in the episodic sketches; Hamlet’s aching self-doubt is hilarious and jarring, and the appearance of the jellyfish-frog-donkey is delightfully batty.

The cast of six is uniformly strong. They are smart, funny and communicate well with the responsive audience. The writing is clever, although a touch derivative, veering close to self-indulgent territory at times.

The main successes of this show are the immediacy of the performances and the sly, knowing sense of serious nonsense. There is no doubt that the women of Poppy Mee are talented and engaging. I await their next show with anticipation.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)