MANGINA: Tales of an XY Woman
De Parade Teatro 1 (The Parade Theatre 1)
REVIEW: Michael Collins
There's a chair, a microphone, a few coloured lights and brief snippets of pop songs that pay homage to the glamorised world of drag and Les Girls that we are very far away from in the intimate setting of a bare-bones pop-up tent venue at fringe time in Perth.
An appropriate setting, stripped of all but Amanda Monroe and the story or her life thus far (though we are assured that there is a chance to experience this world later in the festival, when Monroe returns with her show Drags Aloud: The Priscilla Experience).
Recounted in about an hour, in at times not entirely cohesive monologue befitting the conversational and/or confessional tone of the piece, are Monroe’s experiences of feeling trapped in life and body and the various attempts at escape from this: starting with excelling at school and sport at an early age (even making the Olympic swimming squad) moving to an extended period of heavy drug use, climbing the corporate ladder and drinking later in life, a period that Monroe describes as assuring her an early grave.
But she didn’t hit that early grave and while much of Mangina is heavy there are enough moments of light and humour throughout to hold you and to ultimately celebrate this one person’s survival.
Where this show succeeds is not in virtuosity of language or theatrical wizardry or marvel but in the sincerity with which Monroe is able to communicate her tale of the many wrong turns that lead her to, at 48 and after a car crash, undergo the process of becoming a woman and continue the understandable quest to never become Norman Bates.
At times as unstructured as the life it represents, Mangina is nevertheless a fitting way to kick off the festival.
Mangina: Tales of an xy woman runs until February 2 and is part of Fringe World 2013. Tickets are available from www.fringeworld.com.au.