Ubu – Unley Youth Theatre

Ubu – Unley Youth Theatre

Youth Theatre doesn’t get much better than this. The Unley Youth Theatre production of Ubu is sensational.

Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi was first performed as a schoolboys’ marionette play in 1888. It has since become not only the well-spring of the Theatre of the Absurd and the surrealist movement, but it is often regarded as the first play of the modern era.

Ubu has been rediscovered more times than the yo-yo by theatre practitioners including Peter Brook, Max Wall and Steve Brown.

Ubu is an anti-hero, a comic book caricature of a stupid, selfish bourgeois-turned-despot. He is gluttonous, amoral, cowardly, power-crazed, and not a very nice man. Ubu stands as a metaphor for all tyrants.

Jarry’s Ubu is grotesque comedy which is more allegory than fantasy. Grahame Gavin has directed a ripsnorting production with complete adherence to the outrageous. Gavin uses pantomime, slapstick, expressionistic acting, double entendre, clowning, Shakespearian parody, Freddy Krueger, Humphry B. Bear, bath tubs, toilets, Hills hoists and heaps more, with complete assurance in one glorious gulp of theatrical frenzy.

Scott Whitters was born to play Ubu and he is a brilliant cross between the Michelin man, Napoleon, Burt Lahr and Fatty Arbuckle. The cast is a tight and highly disciplined ensemble with especially good work from Collen Sincock, Bronwen Patrickson, Nicole Windsor and Jamie Black.

Designer Lou Wetbury has made the production visually exciting and it becomes a surreal harlequinade, with cocksure battles fought with foam phallusus.

The Unley Youth Theatre makes this century-old play look completely fresh. This is superlative youth theatre and it’s the best production of Theatre of the Absurd in Adelaide for ages. As Ubu would say “Pschitt, it’s good”.

Urban Myth Theatre Company

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