Sunday, November 12, 2017
Atlantis by Lally Katz. Belvoir at Belvoir Street, Sydney, October 28 – November 26,2017.
Director – Rosemary Myers; Set and Costumer Designer – Jonathon Oxlade; Lighting Designer – Damien Cooper; Composer and Sound Designer – Harry Covill; Dialect Coach – Paige Walker; Movement Director – Sara Black.
Paula Arundell (Electra & Others); Lucia Mastrantone (Bella / Dossie / New York Taxi Driver & Others); Amber McMahon (Lally); Hazem Shammas (Diego / Panther / Dave / Pop-op & Others); Matthew Whittet (Bella’s Daughter & Others)
Reviewed by Frank McKone
Atlantis is a quite remarkable picaresque fantastique adventure in the life of ‘Lally’, a writer in her mid-thirties seeking a soul-mate, to have children, to find love.
Based shall we say ‘loosely’ on Lally Katz’s early childhood memories of living in Miami, Florida, her peripatetic travels to recover from her adult failing relationship with Dave in Australia turn into a wild kind of road movie – to a fake psychic in New York, her ageing grandparents in New Jersey, to a Hillsong kind of church in Kansas, to Miami in a hurricane, and finally to Caesar’s Palace Casino in Las Vegas – to name just a few of her many electrifying contacts with American life.
On the way, the myth of the drowned Atlantis continually floats out at Lally, weirdly mixed with her fantasy of the black panther who wants to eat her from childhood dreams. At Caesar’s Palace, “King Atlas’s children … fight until the gods tire of them and the whole of Atlantis is swallowed up by the sea…Atlantis is lost. But the show happens every hour on the hour. So it will be found again.”
There is no way that I can explain how Katz’s show gets to this highly potent ending, but when it does Lally, played absolutely brilliantly by Amber McMahon, has somehow found her place in life as a writer. However fantastic her story-telling, in the end it’s about a writer being a writer, a myth-maker. And on the way being terribly and joyously funny.
“Hi, everyone, I’m Lally Katz. I’m a playwright and I wrote this play….Thank you for coming. I hope you really enjoy it.”
I certainly did.