Melbourne Fringe: ‘South Yarra Mum’

Whether to send the kids to Buller again for skiing over the holidays, or which child’s birthday year is worth spending over $5000 on? These, and other serious considerations, are giving full airing in Kate Hanley’s ‘South Yarra Mum’, showing as part of Melbourne Fringe. This light-hearted 50-minute satirical snapshot of what occupies the minds of the well-off women of Melbourne as they wait in their white 4WD Jeeps at school pick up, or over their pulled-pork brioche in Toorak cafés, leaves few stones unturned.

Step upstairs at Club Voltaire, in the North Melbourne Fringe Festival Hub, where you can relax in a laid back, cabaret-style performance room. Knowing chuckles abound. There is nothing so revengefully sweet as mocking the minutiae of the very rich of our home town. Melbourne is known as a ‘small city of villages’ and the class warfare lines are strongly drawn.

Coming from an elite girls’ private school herself, Kate has the inside scoop on the inner workings of these women’s lives and minds, and shares them with us as a canteen counter confessional. Should kids who mix at public playgrounds ‘be rushed to Cabrini for a tetanus shot’ if state school kids attend? Do you train your child to play Bach by seven years, or do you enrol them in school camps ‘which deliver happiness in world-class facilities’? Most prominent is that serious of questions:  which private school to send Jemima to?  For, private schools ‘teach you how to row, but, more importantly, how to marry a CEO’.

The show is one-woman spoken word, told in anecdotes and narratives, interspersed with songs, assisted by her tech-sidekick husband. The hostess, Kate Hanley-Corley, is ever so polite and softly spoken, even as she discusses the vagaries of household cleaning, and being haunted by the ghost of your MIL (Mother-In-Law). She sings of being interrupted having sex by your children, of how she is “A Perfect Mum”, and how she longs to return to 1970s parenting, a world of “no helmets, seatbelts or lawsuits”. Tellingly, she notes, no boss has ever assessed her KPIs on toilet cleaning, nor her pubic hair removal count in the shower. No, motherhood for women of the 21st century is all “ Anzac biscuits and kisses, singing lullabies to a developing placenta…”.

The show has its tongue firmly planted in cheek and delights with real life stories which we might have overheard in Brighton cafés. Get down and find out where a giant Rubix Cube might feature in the drama-packed lives of the beautiful ones!

– Sarah
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope!

The Season of this 50-minute show runs at Club Voltaire, Fringe Hub precinct, 8pm Tues – Saturday, September 15 – October 1. Book tickets now.
This venue is upstairs and not wheelchair accessible.

For more Melbourne Fringe 2016, check out our guide and all our reviews.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Melbourne Fringe.