45 below, until May 23
New Australian musicals are rare on the independent theater scene. I’ve only seen a handful since Margaret Fulton: queen of dessert ten years ago, then Helen Begley Trip is welcome post-containment rate.
Her folk musical examines the story of immigrant women who sailed to the colonial city of Sydney in the early 1830s, accepting the offer of paid passage as part of a program designed to reduce the gender imbalance (there were five men for every woman) and reduce the dependence of respectable households on the work of convicts.
Promised to better wages and a fresh start in the colony, these women must have been terrified when, after months at sea, they disembarked in Sydney and were assaulted at the pier by 2,000 mocking men, with only a small police escort to protect them.
This episode is important in Trip, which follows the fates of two women – a god-fearing Irish maid (Carly Ellis) and tough but ambitious Lizzie Wade (Penny Larkins) – bound for Botany Bay.
These women must have been terrified when, after months at sea, they disembarked in Sydney and were assaulted on the quayside by 2,000 mocking men.
The performers are accompanied on stage by a group of three musicians (Helen Begley on guitar, Kylie Morrigan on violin, Penelope Swales on whistle) who warm the audience with colonial-era folk interpretations of Helen Reddy. I’m a woman and Cyndi Lauper Girls just wanna have fun.