The Violent Years (1956)

The Violent Years (1956)
Adapted and directed by Rachel Kelly. Fringe World (WA). The Blue Room, Perth Cultural Centre. Jan 18-26, 2019

The Violent Years (1956) is a campy, all female musical based on an Ed Woods Film, playing at The Blue Room. Gorgeously sung, it is an 'in your face’, aggressive piece, that never takes itself seriously.

Paula is a wealthy, capable A student who is ignored by her parents. In retaliation she forms a girl gang who rob gas stations, rape men and trash their school as they sing 50s rockabilly to riot girl rock.

Sally Alrich-Smythe is dynamic and compelling as alpha girl Paula, a tough talking, swaggering young lady, played by an actress with amazing presence. Former local girl Lucy Green brings elegance to friend Geraldine, also playing Paula’s mother. Elsa Cherlin is very strong in the roles of Georgia and local crime boss Sheila, and acing perhaps the best line of the show, in a beautifully understated delivery, just before the final song. Billie Miles gives a very powerful performance as rage fuelled Phyllis, Paula’s 'right hand man’ who harbours a secret desire.

Unusually styled, this is partly presentational, feels almost concert form at times, and is unapologetically broad stroke and camp.

The Violent Years (1956) was a fun, fifties film tribute with a lot of fight and fabulous frocks. Well worth a look.

Kimberley Shaw.

Photographer: Rachel Kerry.

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