Courtney Rose Brown
Gender politics are scattered throughout, most apparent in the interactions between the children, Bobby O’Connor (Jack Archibald) and Molly Beech (Lola Gonzalez Boddy) two young friends. “Because you’re a girl” becomes a popular phrase in why Molly cannot do the same things as Bobby, including work. This also comes into play with young lovers, Emma Beech (Isobel MacKinnon) and Thomas O’Connor (James Gordon). Who feel different expectations cast onto themselves, due to their gender. They bring a lightness to the show, as their love is sweet and kind, but with an underlying belly of the bleak reality of living to their relationship. With the intent to marry, they struggle to find a balance between what is right for now and what is right for what they believe in.
The direction does not meet the strength of the script. Director, Kate JasonSmith, has pushed a fast pace, which makes the scenes feel too busy as lines overlap and near the end of the first half actors fumble over lines, although they’re a week into their season. Scenes often end on blackouts, and as the lights dim, the emotion of the last scene halts suddenly. I wonder if there is potential to extend these scenes, especially near the end at the height of emotional intensity. This may have brought more room to let emotion hang, as the scenes often bounce straight into each other, upsetting the rhythm of the scenes. Musical and dance moments feel jarring, the scene never matches the tone of the musical numbers. Although beautifully sung and choreographed by Jan Bolwell, they do also bring excitement and energy to the piece.
Post show, I was talking to my mum about how I loved the focus on the fiery nature, fighting spirit and the strength of the women, she replied and it made me realise “what have men ever really had to fight for?” What an amazing show to make my mum aware of the patriarchal society that we live in. A phrase that pops up throughout the show is the standards are “unfair and unjust”, both highlighting the awful terms in which the miners and their families lived in but also a reminder of the unfair and unjust disparities between wealth and gender still prevalent today. Scarlet and Gold, is a powerful show and one worth seeing!