Ask Audrey Ask Audrey
Archived

Good Cook. Friendly. Clean.

"it knocks you for six"

Audrey review: Tara Morice electrifies the story of a woman facing the harsh realities of Sydney's rental housing market.

Text size
Text size
Company: Griffin Theatre
Add to favourites

Good Cook. Friendly. Clean.

Date: 11 May 2018

A 2016 Australian Institute of Mental Health study identified the fastest growing demographic of homeless people as women aged over 50.

Usually single or divorced, and under-employed after devoting many years to raising children, they find themselves at the sharp end of Australia’s housing affordability crisis.

Sandra, the subject of Brooke Robinson’s compact and piercing Good Cook. Friendly. Clean. is one such woman.

In its first scene, Sandra (played by Tara Morice) is given two weeks to move out of the room she has lodged in for four years. It’s nothing personal say her housemate-landlords in a scene wriggling with embarrassed self-interest. It’s just that they have an old friend moving to Sydney for work and, well, you know what the rental market is like.

Sandra is about to find out in a series of eight blackly funny and increasingly fraught scenes in which she tries to present her best self to the diverse domestic situations she encounters: a couple of young graduates trying to sublet a boxroom; a mother with a hyperactive four-year-old; a pair of sibling party animals on Halloween night.

These contortions prove too much for a woman who is physically and emotionally vulnerable.

We don’t learn much about Sandra beyond what we see in her serial efforts to morph into a suitable candidate and placed end-to-end, the scenes are similar in terms of tone and outcome. But the cumulative impact is such that when Robinson lands her punch in the play’s final scene – a pitiless assessment of life at the economic and psychological margins – it knocks you for six.

Robinson’s terse dialogue is well-served by taut direction (Marion Potts), a snappy production (an in-progress renovation designed by Melanie Liertz; jarring blasts of techno from Nate Edmondson), an electric performance from Morice, and a series of vivid housemates-from-hell caricatures created by Kelly Paterniti and Fayssal Bazzi.

Content
In close-up: Tara Morice
Add to favourites
ArchivedGriffin Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney 4 May - 16 Jun 2018

In close-up: Tara Morice

"For quite a while I was cast as the homespun girl, the dag, or the downtrodden girl with a heart of gold. I needed to break out of that.”

They Divided the Sky: Caring for one of the Eastern Bloc’s Lost Voices
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir Downstairs, Surry Hills, Sydney 13 - 30 Jun 2018

They Divided the Sky: Caring for one of the Eastern Bloc’s Lost Voices

Director Daniel Schlusser creates a little "Socialist paradise" in order to stage a story by one of the casualties of the post-Berlin Wall culture wars.

Red Line Underground: Digging Deeper
Add to favourites
SeasonOld Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo, Sydney 3 Jun - 25 Nov 2018

Red Line Underground: Digging Deeper

The Old Fitzroy Theatre is deepening its monthly lineup of improv and burlesque shows with an entire Red Line Underground season.

See More

More to see

View All
Assassins
Add to favourites
ArchivedSydney Opera House, Bennelong Point 7 Jun - 1 Jul 2018

Assassins

David Campbell returns to play the charismatic John Wilkes Booth in this revival of a production first seen at the Hayes Theatre in 2017.

Bliss
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir, Surry Hills, Sydney 9 Jun - 15 Jul 2018

Bliss

Toby Truslove is Harry Joy, a man who brings a smile to all he meets. Then, one warm afternoon on the front lawn, he dies.

Roomba Nation
Add to favourites
TheatreOld 505 Theatre, Newtown, Sydney 4 - 21 Jul 2018

Roomba Nation

Hurrah Hurrah return with a team of robotic vacuum cleaners hacked to torment their human counterparts.

They Divided the Sky
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir Downstairs, Surry Hills, Sydney 13 - 30 Jun 2018

They Divided the Sky

The story of a young couple living in socialist East Germany and a relationship tested to the extreme.

Top