FROM HERE TO INFIRMITY - MELBOURNE
FROM HERE TO INFIRMITY, Melbourne Comedy Festival, La Mama Courthouse, 29 March-8 April 2018. Photography by Kirstin Gollings
This show is Sue Ingleton’s farewell; hopefully not from our stages completely, it would be a loss to the theatrical community (the credit is “written, directed and performed by...”). Although I do get that doing it all yourself does take its toll.
In From Here To Infirmity we say goodbye to Bill, Edith, and Gemma aka Ingleton. Her brilliantly-crafted characters that have delighted many over the years.
The thing about Ingleton is she is smart, she is savvy and she knows how to work a room and herself – not many can get away with self-direction, but she does. Her content is up-to-date, no one is safe even through the eyes of the “oldies”.
Only those in the know would cotton on that her occasional fireside chat with the stage manager (Annabel Warmington) is a way of finding her way back to the script; a masterclass in maintaining the character at all times, her piercing blue eyes twinkling with naughtiness.
If I had to choose, my favourite of the three characters is Edith, she is nuanced and has been around the block a few times. Ingleton as Edith is totally believable. Bill, once famous as the world’s first pregnant man, ever searching for love while maintaining his feminist side, tells us his life story from giving birth to his daughter, who became a lesbian, to seeking love from a blow-up doll.
Ingleton’s deft hand at directing sees her change from Bill to Edith on stage, including a costume change – the characters nattering to themselves.
For this show Ingleton adds “a bit of multi-media” which sees Bill and 99-year-old Edith on stage together. We also have a film (Neal Bethune) of Bill vox popping people about the importance of Tena Pants! The video is also a great visual accolade to Ingleton’s triumphs over the years in the business of show.
Just when you think the show is coming to a natural finish, out pops Gemma, slightly worse for wear, decked out in pink with flashy glasses. She immediately delights the audience with her appraisal with what is wrong with the world. Her exposé of what constitutes “domestic” violence is spot on.
From Here to Infirmity is 75 minutes of Ingleton’s cutting edge writing which mirrors her intellect and is a performance that is all class.
So, farewell and thanks to Bill, Edith and Gemma and the great chameleon Ingleton, who I hope will not be silent for too long. There is a lot on in Melbourne at the moment, but do make time to say adieu to Bill, Edith and Gemma. Recommended!