Altona City Theatre
CLOC Musical Theatre
Executive Producer, Michael Cassel
Australia Dot Com
"If you LOVED Baz Luhrrman's Australia, you're gonna HATE this play."
The stage was simply furnished with plastic chairs, a table, the Australian flag, and a large poster of a little known marsupial: the dunnart. The six cast members politely served pre-show lamingtons to the full-house audience, while a soundtrack set the mood with songs by Australian Crawl, Skyhooks, and Rolf Harris.
The play begins with Jack seeking to expand his souvenir business (Australia Dot Com) by importing dunnart toys made in China. His sales team are his wife Maureen, his son Adrian, Wendy ( an American), Ian, and Imogene, who is a beguiling meld of punk, goth and Alice in Wonderland.
Jack has predicated his business expansion upon finding a sign that proclaims, “Risk Everything,” which he proceeds to do, unbeknownst to the others. Jack is consumed by the business, Adrian is a nihilistic poet looking for love, Ian is tormented by Imogene and her ‘cruelty’ towards him, Imogene lives her 'real life' as an avatar, Wendy is seemingly timid, and Maureen briskly competent, however chaos ensues after Jack calls a team meeting and urges everyone to follow their dreams.
Maureen outs herself as a sex goddess who, naked and dildo in hand, brings 'relief' to the internet masses. This scene was simply astounding and the bravery of the actress, Rohanna Hayes, should be applauded. Ian, who realises that he can know Imogene more intimately as an avatar himself, goes online and falls in love with her avatar. Adrian and Wendy have an uneasy relationship, talking only by phone and only meeting for sex.
Maureen has a long monologue where she explains her clarity of purpose, which is to "liberate vaginas and to 'Reclaim Your Gate.' " This scene was magnificently acted and simply hilarious.
Ian and Imogene find their love is too hard in the real world and try to kill one another. Wendy falls pregnant to Adrian, Maureen wants to start a new religion and asks Jack for money, forcing him to admit that Australia Dot Com is on the verge of collapse.
The Chinese manufacturers have created 'dung rats' (that perform continous pelvic thrusts) and the whole, huge consignment is stuck on the wharves due to industrial action. What a mess! Despondency takes hold of the team until Wendy shakes off her discontent and takes control. She firmly announces a plan of action and success is achieved.
All of the acting was terrific, each cast member delivering their lines clearly and with relish. Kate Mulqueen (Imogene), specifically, had fun with her character and her logic behind the concept of “dodoisticality” was very engaging.
The dialogue and dynamic between the characters was fast paced and often very funny -- the audience laughed loud and often. The action wanders a little and could do with some structural tightening up. The show included some singing by the cast as well music from the aforementioned Australian soundtrack. The lighting was simple and the set functional.
Australia Dot Com is a witty comedy that uses sex, business, politics and patriotism to entertain. Go and see it!