‘The Waiting Room’ Silver Strong Productions at the Butterfly Club


Theatre Review for ‘The Waiting Room’ DIR Ellen O’Connor
By Meredith Fuller OAM psychologist | writer |director

“The end of the world/judgement day/the final revelation (or whatever you want to call it) is nigh. The men have been taken first, because… well… patriarchy. Now the women remain, five of them to be exact, vying to free themselves from the shackles of their deepest, darkest secrets. Will this last-ditch effort get them through the pearly gates to the celestial city?

An uproariously funny, and at times devastating, collection of monologues; The Waiting Room is an exploration of the burdens we carry, and a challenge to those who cast judgment.

Director Ellen O’Connor masterfully guides this ensemble through a labyrinth of emotions, seamlessly blending humour and heartache to create a vivid and unforgettable theatrical experience.

With wit, wisdom, and a healthy dose of irreverence, this production dares to challenge societal expectations while celebrating the strength and resilience of the women left standing.”

“We’re all just a bunch of sinners, but we do the best we can” – Dolly Parton

Director Ellen O’Connor
Writers Elyse Batson, Fiona Crombie, Amelia Dunn, Laura Knaggs, and Tuia Suter
Dramaturg Tuia Suter
With Delaram Ahmadi, Elyse Batson, Fiona Crombie, Amelia Dunn, Laura Knaggs, and Rory Harman

*Content warning: This production contains coarse language and mentions of sex, drugs, violence, animal death, death and suicide.
Venue: The Butterfly Club Upstairs Theatre
Address: 5 Carson Place (off Lt Collins), Melbourne
Date: 8th to 11th November 2023
Time: 8.30pm
Tickets: Full $39, Concession $35, Group (6+) $30, Broke Butterfly $15
Ticket Link & more information: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/the-waiting-room

PR Contact: Fiona Crombie
Email: Silverstringproductions@gmail.com

Monologue 1: written and performed by Elyse Batson
Monologue 2 (Roxy): written by Tuia Suter, performed by Delaram Ahmadi
Monologue 3 (Harri): written and performed by Amelia Dunn
Monologue 4 (Louisa): written and performed by Fiona Crombie
Monologue 5 (Maggie): written and performed by Laura Knaggs
Silver String Productions (Fiona Crombie & Laura Knaggs) is visionary. Yet another coup de gras, as they name the critical issue no one wishes to face – death. This is what adults most need to explore and assiduously avoid. In denial, little wonder our world is in chaos. Silver String Productions courageously tackle the critical themes of our times in a palatable mixture of painful truth and magnificent humour. I would like as many people as possible to watch this play.
Five women deliver pungent monologues as both universal archetypes and Melbourne’s instantly recognisable individual women. Together they present us with the complexity of the female and the insightfulness of women who confront the psychological meaning of life and death.

Elyse as Youth/young woman
Roxy as Companion
Harri as Mother
Louisa as Crone
Maggie as Mediatrix (or Fool)

5 intricately crafted stories that go to the heart of what ails us as a society with frivolity and pathos. This ensemble consists of clever actors who generously construct the scaffolding that will build to the finale. And what a finale!
Full credit to the director, Ellen O’Connor, who accomplishes the intricacy of what she must do for this production to reverberate long after we leave.

Laura Knaggs is the catapulting star we’ll be claiming as our Aussie Jodie Comer.
Her writing, delivery and comedic timing are cheeky, exciting, and profound. She has many funny lines plus the final statement that hits the bullseye.

I will never be able to watch ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ again without rolling on the floor in peals of mirth. This is one of the funniest utterancnes Knaggs makes; you’ll understand my comment when you hear it.

Fiona Crombie brings the gravitas of a Shakespearean performer. Her capacity to plumb the depths of the human condition while shaming and humbling the ignorant and inept is truly awe-inspiring.

Amelia Dunn’s anxious ‘good mother’ is artfully combined with her obsessive-compulsive list making and self-sacrifice that had the audience howling with recognition.

Delaram Ahmadi’s Roxy is the confused young Scorpio who seeks to accompany the Other with precocious seduction and fragile narcissism is beautifully done.

Elyse Baton masters the timidity and invisibility of the young girl as she gains her strength in facing her despair is poignant. Her skill in engaging with an invisible presence/hard taskmaster Creator is particularly powerful. She had us all convinced.

Rory Harmon provided a malevolent presence/Creator/angry God draped in the black cloak and skilfully communicated his internal workings via hand gestures and the sparse use of intimidating noise. Those closer to the stage were able to see how well his eyes were impressive in providing his responses.

My reflections on my experience may assist in offering some alternative ideas that may be considered or discarded as all feedback should.

The minimalist set and the wardrobe choices were just right, the use of shadow and light eerie, and the set changes were executed seamlessly.

As homage to our current lifestyle, the use of the mobile phone as both mirror and lighting was clever. It seemed to work better than the small torch. The table lamp was perfect for the 4th monologue.

The actors are so accomplished it makes me wonder whether the role of the dark male could have remained silent. He was more confronting before he began speaking and interacting. Or could he have even been deleted? Elyse Batson initially engaged the audience’s capacity to conjure up their own particular symbol, and to me, that was far more significant.

The acting and scripts were so terrific that I didn’t want the audience to be jolted out of their imagination by wondering why the black costume, and the verisimilitude of his retorts and actions. Just a thought.

Overall, this is an experience where we lurch from empathy to belly laughs, to useful reflexivity. What a night!

Another tour de force from Silver String Productions.

The Waiting Room Silver String Productions
The Waiting Room Silver String Productions
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Meredith & Brian, Kate & Matt in the audience for The Waiting Room
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