By George Dixon
YIRRAMBOI 2023 is an exciting First Nations creatives festival that provides opportunities to showcase the immense scope and depth of talent.
Inside Out, penned by Maurial Spearim, is no exemption.
Spearim is a highly accomplished and versatile artist with an impressive background in acting, singing, and writing. Having graduated from the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2009, she has since gone on to deliver performances in a range of productions, including popular TV shows such as “Neighbours,” “Wentworth,” and “Redfern Now,” as well as a number of successful stage plays. Inside Out represents the latest addition to her already impressive body of work.
As an artist, Spearim is unafraid to tackle difficult and thought-provoking topics head-on. Inside Out is a prime example of her bold and unflinching approach to storytelling, with a narrative that is both timely and impactful. She invites audiences to engage with important social issues and challenges them to think deeply about the world around them.
The production is supported by a strong cast of four. Maurial Spearim, Monica Jasmine Karo, Carissa Lee, and Simon Flynn, whose dynamics and characterising are extremely relatable. Most people will be able to identify with at least one character, remindimng them of a person they already know.
Inside Out is a clever script that skilfully incorporates animation, video clips, and dynamic stage presence to create a thought-provoking experience.
The use of a gameshow format is a wonderful medium to display the key background elements quickly and positively; while the script dances along the line, it points to various aspects of racism.
Some of which are “In Your Face”.
The staging was mostly well-executed, although there were a few minor issues that detracted from the overall impact of the production. For example, the placement of the mixing trolley could have been more carefully considered to ensure that all members of the audience, including those in the back, could see.
Alkisti Pataki, the director, takes advantage of the set and open spaces. The production flows very smoothly, with well-timed and precisely placed comical elements.While the play picks up mid-way, notably once the audience is encouraged to respond, the fast-changing scenes build to the desired planned outcome, which is not the end of the play.
I enjoyed the interesting and hilarious character twists: the pace, subject matter, and outcome.
Inside Out is a play for this time. It delivers in terms of hitting its mark and providing space for further audience discussions.
It is thought-provoking, with wonderful aspects of light and shade. Inside Out is somewhat funny while being entertaining, as evidenced by the audience response and after-show discussions.
Inside Out was performed at the Malthouse Theatre South Melbourne as part of the Melbourne’s 2023 YIRRAMBOI Festival.