This collaboration between Emma Valente and Kate Davis, the experimental feminist directors and designers collectively known as The Rabble, and multi-talented writer Alison Croggon, will likely leave audiences divided. Is it a self-indulgent swipe at patriarchal society that is both too obvious and too obscure? Or a nuanced, multi-disciplinary exploration, including through performance art, poetry, history and sound, of human relationships and, in particular, society’s wilful and oppressive misunderstanding of women that has endured for centuries?
Jennifer Vuletic in My Dearworthy Darling. Photo © David Paterson
For this critic, My Dearworthy Darlingis a little of the former but a great deal more of the latter. Its very loose narrative focuses on a woman (Jennifer Vuletic) whose mental illness may in part be due to, but is certainly not helped by, her deteriorating relationships with her partner (Ben Grant) and sister (Natalie Gamsu).
He is crushed by a dehumanising insurance job, leaving him vulnerable and prone to anger, as well as echoing the hard, unsympathetic conservatism of the sister when these two get together. Grant and Gamsu present well defined characters that seem to intentionally border on caricature, while Vuletic’s performance is an...