If your heading to see the second incarnation of this award winning show, you have by now heard some of the hype surrounding it, but the question remains, why the hype? Here is a show that does nothing but pander to negative stereotypes without, in the slightest way trying to challenge the status quo. These women here represented, have been through hard times, that’s not in question, what is in question is why this work does not do more to elevate these characters, instead of offering a performance, that for the going ticket price of 38 dollars provides nothing more than some throw away, awkwardly humorous light entertainment for those that can afford to splash around this sort of cash.
Moving away from these criticisms, the writing of Patricia Cornelius is, as always luminary, she paints a stark picture here choosing no to gloss over or ever fully eluding to just what has transpired, and in this manner SHIT is pure genius. Her writing paired with the direction here given by Suzie Dee, together are a near perfect match, but the work comes across as a little too polished, all time it felt at odds with the raw gritty nature of the subject manner being explored. The performance felt like it had been drained of its life, that’s not to say there is anything wrong with thoroughly developed work, but here it just felt stale. The brief sections of choreographed movement though rooted in good intention, did nothing for the narrative, and at best they came across as challenged.
The performances given by Sarah Ward, Nicci Wilks and Peta Brady were impressive, each taking to and in their own way, as much as possible, breathing life into the characters, seeing Ward break away from her larger than life character Yana Alannah really shows her true worth as a performer.
There is a sense of intimacy afforded to the space in which this season is presented which aided the performance to a degree. The set, designed by Marg Horwell worked in unison with lighting designed by Rachel Burke, however sitting in the front row, more often site lines where impeded, and unfortunately this too broke from what ever rhythm was trying to be established.
When first presented last year as part of MTC’s Neon season, the massive response surrounding SHIT related to its raw honesty and true portrayal of these characters, perhaps the problem with this season lies in the simple fact that is now presented at 45 downstairs, a venue that is surrounded in prestige, and in turn it has lost some of inclusiveness and is less accessible. It appeared at the preview of this performance that it was nothing more than a bunch of rich white people laughing, not with, but at these characters, which is shame, considering the worth of their personal stories.
When we as, a country and as a society, are seeing an ever increasing divide between classes, a work such as SHIT has an important role to play, a rich and dynamic story to tell, but within what setting and context? Not without merit, see this work for yourself and be the judge, it opens tonight at 45 Downstairs you can book your tickets here