Minnie & Mona Play Dead is a tight, focused and fierce little black comedy-drama that blends autobiography and fiction and quite a bit more in its ~50 minute run time.
The show starts with a warning from the director and the writer that what that the play is about death and suicide. It is a funny warning, as the two try to outdo each other as to whom has been depressed and suicidal the longest. Then the first twist, as the director and the writer are portrayed by the two actresses who also take on roles as the two characters that lend their names to the play.
We get to meet Minnie, a young girl fascinated by make believe animals, such as cheeky unicorns hiding secrets – but especially obsessed about ants. She breaks out into a little song and dance that made us think Flight of the Conchords, and her best friend grudgingly accepts to play, as long as their make-believe ants can be feasting on the corpse of a dead beast. Mona has perhaps and even more fantastical imagination, with a strong morbid streak, everything is about death and dying.
Minnie and Mona are delightful, wickedly funny, and I’d see another hour of the two girls. Or at least see them play ‘war child’ – which Minnie refuses again and again to play. As if weren’t already clever enough, the two characters break in and out of character and address the audience as the actors themselves, with commentary on the play we are watching, or bursting out of a scene in an emotional reaction to what they were acting out.
The play has won a number of awards, on the strengths of both its meta-structure and talent of the actresses. While the subject matter might feel a bit too raw for some, I did find it managed to engage the audience in reflecting on our feelings about death, suicide or loss.
Christian G. is an international man of mystery, book and cat lover; moonlighting as a finance professional by day.
Minnie & Mona Play Dead runs most evenings through to October 3rd, at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The venue is accessible.