Cookie’s Table

Last night I went to see The Story of the Miracle of Cookie’s Table at the Cremorne Theatre (QPAC) written by Wesley Enoch and directed by Leah Purcell for Bungarbura Production.

I’m no theatre critic but I loved it. It was funny and serious, you’ll laugh real hard too, and cry a bit.

I thought the set design was excellent. And the way that the actors used the space was fantastic. The way the story (and the actors) seamlessly transitioned between times (past/present) and characters (multi-generational/young/old). There are some tiny things I’d pick on, but overall, it was a great story/stories.

Who is it appropriate for? Well there’s heaps of swearing in the play, but not out-of-context for the story and there were themes not for little people. I’d definitely take my 15 year old, but the little ones might have to wait a couple of years for the next run. I reckon this should be remounted every five years, so the young ones can see it when they grow up.

Leah Purcell was great. Roxanne McDonald was excellent (as always – we love you Rox!) and Nathan Ramsay in my humble opinion is well on the way to becoming a STAR! Too deadly everyone.

Some links for you to chase up: (the hyperlinking function is playing up today – so forgive clumsiness below):

The Story of the Miracles of Cookie’s Table at QPAC:

Review of 2007 Production by Rebecca Whitton for Australian Stage:

Review of 2007 Production by Bruce Hallett for Sydney Morning Herald:

HatTip: To Melissa for organising and making us go! Thanks to Sandra, Jackie, Mel, Kate & Grace for being such lovely company.  

Image used is copyrighted & is linked from:

3 thoughts on “Cookie’s Table”

  1. I agree with much of what you say in your 'not-a-review' blog, I enjoyed this play very much and I think it will [and should] keep us talking for some time! Here though I'll make a comment limited to one element: I was concerned at first about the initial presentations of the women on stage. The 'dead' body on the table as we were seated and the intoxicated and loud-mouthed swaggering Annie / daughter. But, oh to see these characters become flesh and personality as the play unfolded, my initial resistance to Annie was overcome as we saw her reveal more of her sassiness, humour, toughness and then her-story and and her vulnerabilities. I was very, very impressed with all three performers, they were physically so close to the audience yet so able to create their own world around 'Cookie's Table' even while, as you say, crossing times, generations, stories and a huge range of emotions. I too would recommend this play, and recommend that we keep talking about it!

  2. Love your comment Sandra.

    I'm afraid I do have a habit of not just watching and experiencing something, but always thinking,'What is this saying about Aboriginal women? What is this saying about Aboriginal men? Is the representation authentic? Is the representation biased? What are the White People in the audience thinking? What kind of assumptions are the White People in the audience forming about Aboriginality and Aboriginal families?'

    When I manage to stop myself from all this, I try to say, okay 'if we have a plethora of writing & performance (in film, theatre, literature, art galleries, tv), then one or two problematic representations are just one or two within a mix of representations.

    But, like you say, Annie evolved into much more (or I guess she was always much more at the start).

    Thinking a bit more today, Annie was really the central character. It was her story. Or perhaps she was the link, sometimes present, sometimes absent, but a link between Faith & Nathan, the past & the present, despair & hope, leaving/going & home/return.

  3. Love it Leesa! I crowd-watch too, it's what I do 🙂 Edward Said calls it critical consciousness, 'the inevitable trajectory of critical consciousness is to arrive at some acute sense of what political, social and human values are entailed in the reading, production and transmission of every text [or performance, production or exhibition etc]' (1983, 26). Yes, I think the character Annie has the power to stay with one long after leaving the building. No doubt due in part to Purcell's brilliant performance as well as Enoch's writing of her. She's the one in a family that says what you're not supposed to say; who's just a little/lot! messed up but still trying to make sense of it all. Nathan's a wonderful foil for that, he knows more about his mother by the night's end and that's redemptive for Annie, because she clearly wants a more meaningful relationship with him. I'm still mulling over the Nan character Faith, superbly acted by Roxanne McDonald with few lines and short scenes interspersed throughout the show, she is very convincing! Amazing. I LOVE that this this play did not just evoke / deliver a simple 'respect your elder' message, it was so much more complicated. Faith was beautiful, strong and loving but she also wanted Nathan to herself. Fascinating portrayals.

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