'The Regina Monologues' Theatre Review

serious meerkat as Queen Njinga of Angola (Photographer: Brett Robson)

Cancelled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 (due to COVID lockdowns), 24 Carrot Productions being true to the quote “the show must go on” courageously brought to the stage an amazing cavalcade of “queens” in their production of The Regina Monologues. Why courageously?

Firstly, in terms of innovative stagecraft whereby the thirteen characters performed short monologues across three performance spaces, with the audience deftly wrangled by the actors who doubled as ushers for the show. Secondly, creating challenges for the actors who instantly conjured up their characters, with the minimal use of props, before the audience moved on to the next vignette – something akin to speed dating? So, to the actors - a hearty Bravo for deftly wrangling the audience by doubling as ushers for the show and then transforming miraculously into their stage personas.

Putting a modern slant on queens of the past – both real and imaginary - Director/Writer, Sharmini Kumar sought the reveal these women in a new light. How would these women be viewed today and have attitudes have changed to women in positions of power or influence, or those aiming to be so? To name a few - we see Delaram Ahmadi depicted as a sassy teenage unwed mum (the Virgin Mary) and Avril Good (Persephone) in a counselling session. Keeping true to Shakespearean drama, we meet Empress Matilda of England (Madalyn McCandless) in a ghostly visitation to her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine (Sonia Marcon). Then Emma Jevons stole the show in their portrayal of Hortense Bonaparte in How to be a Princess with their satirical training session with the necessary PowerPoint presentation.

Images (left to right): Emily Scerri as Empress Elizabeth of Austria, and Jazba Singh as Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. Photographer: Brett Robson

I guess the only other challenge for Kumar was ensuring that the audience recognised these characters from history and fantasy, and their relevance to the theme of the production, but this was tackled very neatly by the QR code in the foyer linking to the performance App.

In all aspects of creativity, stagecraft, and delivery, Sharmini Kumar, her cast and creative crew delivered an innovative theatrical encounter, and as a theatregoer, I eagerly await similar performances in the future.



Venue: Meat Market Stables, 2 Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne

Times: 7.30pm shows Tues-Sat, 5pm show Sunday

Dates: 1 – 4 July 2021

Duration:120 minutes

Cost: $30 Full, $25 Concession

Bookings: online only via www.24carrotproductions.com

Enquiries: 0409 501 217

24 Carrot Productions Website