COLLIDE & GRIFFIN INDEPENDENT’S ‘GIRL IN TAN BOOTS’

How refreshing to see a really well written, directed and performed all female ensemble piece.

Tahli Corin’s ‘Girl in Tan Boots’ is a tale of the desperate need to be noticed, to be loved in this contemporary world of social media and 140 character offerings of anonymous admiration or vitriol and a chance to reinterpret who we are and who we want to be.

Corin is a bright talent whose writing demonstrates a sophisticated ability to make you think and laugh whilst maintaining tension and intrigue.

The first half of the play is particularly strong. Director Susanna Dowling has served the writing and found a lovely blend of humour in showcasing the self-obsessed iDisorder of modern society, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes between shop assistants Katie (Madeleine Jones), Lucy (Francesca Savige) and my personal favourite, Mandy (Zindzi Okenyo) who channelled every queen bee bully of the workplace I’ve ever known. This great ensemble share the stage and allow each other to have their moment to shine and will set up those moments for each other with skill and flair.

Linden Wilkinson as Detective Carapetis had a solid first half and brought a calm to the storm of personalities, although the pacing and shuffling on stage sometimes felt forced and her improvising at the end with the audience certainly felt like she was out of her comfort zone. But it is a minor criticism of what is a generally careful and considerate  playing of loneliness and passion.

Odile Leclezio (mum) and Sara Zwangobani (Antoniette) should not be left out of the equation. Whilst Leclezio gave us all the reasons why your daughter would want to disappear, Zwangobani served the function of filling in the narrative gaps for our detective in order to advance the story. Yet it is her character Corin and Dowling still need to flesh out to be more than a foil for the plot.

Kudos to the versatility of Katren Wood’s set and what it allowed to appear and disappear behind the neutral sliding doors and Ally Mansell’s costumes captured the personality of each of the diverse characters found in the play. Even Teegan Lee’s lighting was a smart use of filling and hiding spaces and faces.

‘Girl in Tan Boots’ is well worth a visit to the theatre. Whilst there’s a bit of reworking that needs to happen in the second half, especially once they stop looking for our ‘girl in tan boots’ and the play starts to lose its harmony and energy slightly, I would still highly recommend it to all.

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