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Cate Fucking Blanchett – Sydney Fringe Festival (NSW)

Written, directed and produced by Karolina Ristevski.


Reviewed by Chanele Mao

Flight Path Theatre, Marrickville

Season 21-23 September, 2023


4 STARS


- An innovative, unique and multiversal play, that will take you on a journey with multi-layered twists and turns -


Karolina Ristevski has created a mind-bending, multi-layered, meta-theatrical experience involving one of Australia’s most famous exports, actress Cate Blanchett in her original work, Cate Fucking Blanchett.


At the heart of Blanchett is a story about three sisters, Margot (Melissa Jones), Nina (Angela Johnston) and Grace (Lana Morgan) who are each struggling with issues of acceptance, notions of insecurity and self-doubt, being a mum (or not) and good old sisterly rivalry as they navigate their everyday lives.


Margot, the eldest sister is childless and at 50 is considered too “fat and old” to conceive naturally. Her younger sister, Nina, single and a writer, has agreed to donate her eggs so that Margot can have a chance at being a mum. Her middle sister, Grace, has ticked the box of being a mum of three but struggles to connect with Margot and is jealous of the relationship between Nina and Margot.

Cate FUCKING Blanchett cast at the Sydney Fringe Festival (2023). Images supplied by Karolina Ristevski.


The play is written as a piece of meta-theatre. Meaning the audience is watching a play about a play where the characters talk about the script, Anosmic that Nina has written and who would play them if their life were itself a dramedy (hello Cate Blanchett?), making the audience question what is real and what is fiction?


What sets this production apart is that there are also different versions of Nina, “The Writer” Nina (played by Kate Bookallil) who appears as her alter ego or the little writer’s voice inside Nina’s head and Cate Fucking Blanchett who plays Nina in her play. There is also another play within Blanchett where the “Real Writer” for Cate Fucking Blanchett (played by the delightful Josie Waller) makes an appearance. As you can see, Ristevski loves writers. The writers (including Ristevksi) each wear a similar outfit which showed continuity and solidarity - a smart denim-on-denim combo with a white shirt.


There are moments of laugh-out-loud comedy throughout Blanchett. The visit to the IVF clinic and the egg retrieval process was equally hilarious and cringeworthy. We also meet the IVF Doctor Wilcox (John Michael Narres), who is a smooth-talking auctioneer ready to rub his hands together as “there is money to be made” in the baby-making business.


You can tell that this is Ristevski’s baby as she has put her heart, mind, and soul into it.

The set is simple and sparse; a white sheet acts as the screen background for each scene whilst projected images create the ambience of the sun-filled bedroom or posh penthouse apartment with a few props added to anchor the scene. A bean bag, chair and rug indicate we are in the living room. A couple of office chairs are used as a stand-in for hospital beds.


It can be a little hard to follow the play as the narrative challenges you to follow through what is happening on stage, who the characters are in each space and what version of the characters we are watching – think Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). This, however, is all part of the appeal of the mind-bending, non-linear storyline, reminiscent of a Christopher Nolan film.


There are also heartfelt moments built into the script. You can tell that this is Ristevski’s baby as she has put her heart, mind, and soul into it.


If you’re looking for an innovative, unique and multiversal play, Cate Fucking Blanchett will take you on a journey with many twists and turns. Will Nina or Margot be played by Cate Fucking Blanchett? May the real Cate (fucking) Blanchett make an appearance? You have to see it to find out!

 

21 - 23 SEP | 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES

FLIGHT PATH THEATRE

SHOW IS RATED: M


Written, Produced & Directed – Karolina Ristevski

Assistant Director – Rikiah Lizarraga

AV Design – David Molloy

Lighting Designer – Casey Moon-Watton

Cast – Angela Johnston , Melissa Jones, Lana Morgan, Kate Bookallil, John Michael Narres, Siobhan Lawless, Josie Waller, AND a surprise!

Dramaturg – Jose Aza


Plan your Sydney Fringe this September by heading to their website for the extensive list of what's on offer. Visit: https://sydneyfringe.com/whats-on/

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