The Age

Cameron Woodhead, Reviewer October 24, 2007

Rawcus is an award-winning ensemble of actors with and without disabilities.

Two years ago it teamed with the physical theatre company Born In A Taxi to produce Not Dead Yet, a powerful and visually arresting response to death.

In its latest project, Hunger, Rawcus collaborates with musicians from the Melbourne┬áSymphony Orchestra to take on another universal theme – love.

All of Rawcus’ work grows organically from the personal experiences of its performers.

Director Kate Sulan has a particular talent for weaving these threads into suggestive and vividly imagined tapestries that accommodate the group’s patches of spontaneity and anarchic humour.

The result, this time, is a beautiful, funny and profoundly moving show – an affirmation that desire, and the joy and suffering it brings, belongs to everyone.

Hunger is immersed in representations of love drawn from classical mythology and popular culture. A cupid with golden wings prances across the stage, in the background, two putti kiss in a bower. A mermaid appears, and cannot respond to love knocking at her cold heart, while a cluster of nymphs hide from her in the depths of the sea. An Ophelia figure picks petals from a flower and babbles fragments of fairytales. And there’s a hilarious parody of Rhett and Scarlett’s parting scene in Gone With the Wind.

Perhaps the most original and contemporary moment is the opening sequence. Love arrives as a boy in a red dress (Paul Mately), whirling through serried ranks of paper bags, toppling them in droves. Throughout the show, Mately’s physical performance is extraordinary – he has terrific stage presence and moves with a rare combination of urgency and poise.