Mommie & The Minister (FringeTIX)
Sisters Grimm @ Big Star (Basement)
9:00pm, Sun 2 Mar 2008
Wandering past Big Star on Rundle Street on Sunday night, I was taken aback by the two ghoulish children peering out from the front window at you; it’s not really something you expect to have greet you when attending a show. When we’re eventually allowed downstairs to the Big Star basement, we see that it’s a very small space – forty people would be a squeeze. The set is junky, and as the play starts we’re greeted by the two ghouls, Edmund and Harriet.
The children have been stashed in the basement for years by their Mommie, extravagantly played in drag by Missfit. Edmund suspects that Mommie’s tea parties with The Minister aren’t what Mommie claims they are at all, and is encouraged by Kitty – a painting of a cat – to seek The Truth. It all gets a little silly, with blood and gore flying everywhere, but in the end Harriet escapes the basement…
Ooooh, a spoiler. Best not read the previous paragraph if you were planning on seeing the show.
The first thing to note about Mommie & The Minister is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. From the brash and outlandish new-wave comedy stylings – all shouting and exaggerated movements – to the constant “pudding” and “bean” references (via the disturbing talking cat painting and foul-mouthed and unseen “Minister”), it’s all very wacky. The gory ending fits perfectly with this – you know it’s a good show when the techies warn you not to slip in the blood on the way out. Gillian Perry’s Harriet is the standout performance, all smutty innocence (!) and psychotic evil. Lovely.
Writers Ash Flanders and Declan Greene wrote:
We’re not sure yet if Mommie & The Minister is remotely enjoyable without prior knowledge of Flowers in the Attic, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Mommie Dearest, Children of the Damned, or Carrie.
Well, I’ve only ever seen Carrie (though I may have seen snippets of Flowers in the Attic during an early sexual misadventure), and I – for one – can say that Mommie holds up very well indeed… as long as you don’t take it too seriously. It’s just a pity there were only 9 people who saw it this evening :}