5pound theatre are bringing an all female cast and a pit full of mud to Adelaide for the first 2 weeks of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, to present Alfred Jarry’s seminal piece of theatre – Ubu Roi.
Ubu Roi is a funny, filthy frolic. Written by a juvenile Alfred Jarry and loosely based on the story of Macbeth, it offers us a world devoid of morality, honor, sympathy, loyalty, decency and all other characteristics of a civilized society. What we are left with is a world… really not that different to ours.
5pounds production embraces the filth by staging the whole show in a pit of mud. Five Brave female actors (Freya Pragt, Sharon Davis, Juliet Hindmarsh, Michaela Bedel and Daniella Butlin) in their most grotesque finery will take to the mud to create the explosive hilarity that is 5pound theatres production of this true theatrical classic.
In employing an all female cast the intention is to move beyond the argument of gender inequality to get to the true tale of power lust and greed that lay at the heart of Ubu Roi. What of course inevitably happens, is that the gender inequality within the text is actually highlighted as a result of this, but we are able to move past it.
This groundbreaking and puerile work of theatre started as a schoolyard joke, and went on to influence some of the greatest artists in modern history, it has been sited as inspiration for the Dadaists, the Surrealists and the Absurdist’s and earned Jarry the title of ‘Father of the theatre of the Absurd’.
It’s simplistic plot and schoolboy smut paints us a disturbingly real portrait of modern life. As one critic of the day said, ‘"almost everyone has seen in Jarry, and especially Ubu, an intimation, if only a shadow, of the future.’
Director Jason Cavanagh says, ‘It would be nice to think of Ubu as a grotesque work of fiction… but then you have a little look at the standard of our political debate, and the figures that are today held up as inspirational. You see celebrity and money held up as worthwhile ideals, things to pursue for their own ends… and then you start seeing Ubu’s everywhere’.
Here is what people have had to say about Ubu Roi’s Melbourne production:
'vibrant, grotesque, hilarious and surprising’ – Ash Cotrell (Theatre People)
‘A filthy, mud-spluttered, cover-me-with-plastic glorious mess.’– Anne-Marie Peard (Aussie Theatre)
‘A funny, muddy, gut-churning show’. – Clare Callow (Weekend Notes)