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SUDS’ Arracket: They did it all

MILFs. Sandworms. Arguably incestuous love triangles mediated by shotgun. Arracket did it all.

MILFs. Sandworms. Arguably incestuous love triangles mediated by shotgun. Arracket did it all. 

Co-writers Bella Wellstead and Amelia Vogelsang’s promise of “salacious fanfiction” in their original work for SUDS’ Summer Season drew me in – and this duo delivered just that. 

As we shuffled into the Cellar Theatre we entered the homely bedroom of Danny Cabubas’ Y/N, designed by Adelaide Tustian, with walls concealed by hundreds of posters from The Beatles to Weezer – only to spend the next half hour in absolute silence. Say it ain’t so! 

It is so, dear reader. Directed by Wellstead, Arracket’s first act follows Y/N silently reading the final pages of ‘Dune’. Perhaps an homage to Wellstead and Vogelsang’s SUDS forefather Kip Williams, who once did a near silent performance in which he only shouted at audience members attempting to exit. Thankfully, Gemma Hudson’s saucy MILF Wayne enters stage on occasion in attempts to grab Y/N’s attention. To no avail. For the audience, her return promised relief, each exit garnering pleas of “please don’t go!”.

The real performance of this act was the audience’s reactions. This continued until the sweet release of intermission – domino effects of uncomfortable laughter and exasperated swears. 

In the moment? One of the most agonisingly long experiences of my life, matching the excruciatingly snail-paced ‘Dune’ (I’ve never read it). Retrospectively? One of the best decisions they could have made – a stark contrast to the antics of the second act and the distance between Y/N’s reality and imagination. 

Act 2 introduces manwhore Saul A Tradie, portrayed by Hunter Shanahan, as imagined by Y/N. Saul’s all black attire, quickly stripped to nothing but a white singlet and silky pink Minecraft pyjama shorts (costume design by Ella Godhard), has Y/N lovestruck. Cabubas’ loveable characterisation of Y/N had the audience “aww”-ing at the pair’s slow burn (twenty-minute) romance, sealed by a kiss but punctuated  by the sexual tension between MILF and Saul. Alex Paterson’s sound design and Stuart Rich’s lighting design helped bring both romances to life. My monolingual heart pitter-pattered at Shanahan’s impeccable French and German flirtations, preceding Saul and MILF’s raunchy sex scene in which they are discovered by Y/N. Broken hearts and revelations of marital problems lead to a quarrel between our slightly incestuous love triangle. 

Enter MILF’s husband, Sandworm Stuart Rich from the tech box – played by none other than fake moustachioed lighting designer-turned-actor extraordinaire Stuart Rich. A shotgun-wielding Rich puts an end to Saul’s whorish behaviour (and life), winning MILF’s affections. We discover that Arracket was a touching story about a family reuniting all along. 

Wellstead and Vogelsang’s unhinged script was a roaring success, and never included a joke that didn’t land with me. I hope to see more of their writing in future SUDS productions and beyond. Just please don’t make me sit through thirty minutes of fuck-all again.

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