The Girl The Woman

By Aanisa Vylet. National Theatre of Parramatta. Riverside Theatres. June 28 – July 7, 2018

Photo : Robert Catto

To say this production is a work of love would be to understate the concentration of experiences and diverse performance styles Aanisa Vylet has artistically fused “to smash the limitations of how female narratives can exist on stage”. Nor would it adequately explain the feeling of ‘family’ that radiates from the production. Vylet’s story has been lovingly nurtured by a very sensitive and perceptive director, a talented, imaginative design team, the collaborative support of the National Theatre of Parramatta – and the “world of magic, diversity and community” that is Western Sydney.

If that sounds like I’m waxing too lyrical, please, go see and feel for yourself!

In a vibrant performance, Aanisa Vylet’s  [production] . . . . . is moving, heart-warming and more than a little bit funny.

Walk into the theatre and be intrigued by the way designer Jonathan Hindmarsh has melded a collection of cupboards – two wardrobes, a bookcase, a piano, two dressers, a sideboard, two dressing tables, three sets of drawers, five lamps, a suitcase and a birdcage – into a multi-levelled, multi-shaded grey escalation of time and furniture fashion. Be warmly welcomed, even shown to your seat in some cases, by Vylet herself, greeted by co-star Nisrine Amine as she sits atop the barricade of cabinetry.

Then be drawn into a brave performance that uses a coalition of language and imagery, sound and movement, light and shade to tell a story of growing up, venturing out, and coming back. Vylet’s character is every daughter. Amine’s is every mother. Their stories reach across cultural and religious boundaries. Nisrine’s amplified voice breathes limitations and desires. Vylet animates them in sound . . . .

Review continued in Stage Whispers magazine.