By Angela Aris
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into The Blue Room on James Street for the first time. Upstairs, the The Studio – an intimate venue – was the perfect way to experience My Shout. The production follows a group of close mates: Scarlet, Claire, Chris, and Shaun (real names), who share poignant anecdotes about their experiences with alcohol. These examples are shared through a variety of highly entertaining mediums such as song, dance, monologue, and comedy.
When describing the complex relationship Australians have with drinking, My Shout takes a personal approach; this approach is the beating heart of the show. Talking over the bar behind the sheen of cool purple light, the banter between the four was natural and believable. At this point I thought I knew what I was in for; I was excited to listen to snappy dialogue between friends for an hour. However, I quickly realised as each performer took to the stage, this wasn’t an amateur production taped together the night before. The choreography was rehearsed and tailored for its emotional effect and each individual was overflowing with talent, charisma, and wit.
The show remained uplifting even while tackling hard topics head on. Australian drinking culture was placed under a microscope, with the production touching on the role of that culture in toxic masculinity, family values, and youth culture. Familiar experiences such as bumping into an attractive stranger on a night out or reluctantly putting up with the incoherent ramblings of a drunk friend were front and centre. I was comforted by the giggling audience surrounding me and the sense of community that was created.
My Shout was not at all a condemnation of drinking, but an honest portrayal of all the cringeworthy, off-putting, vulnerable, fun, and ridiculous parts of it; instead, it urged us to acknowledge truths, own our indiscretions, and to take accountability.
Image courtesy of Duncan Wright