Mad As A ,,,
With characters called Kiki Coriander and Jumper and a production that has taken its influences from cabaret, slapstick, Tina Turner and John Lennon, you know Cut Snake is a play where you can expect the unexpected. Rachel Cook spoke to actor Catherine Davies (Kiki Coriander) about the return season of Cut Snake.
Winning over audiences at the Melbourne and Sydney Fringe festivals, Cut Snake is the creation of Sydney independent theatre company, Arthur, which began in 2011. The company which is dedicated to creating new Australian work won a Melbourne Fringe Festival award for best emerging writers (and was nominated for two Green Room Awards) for their original production of Cut Snake.
The return of Cut Snake sees Catherine Davies playing one of the central characters, Kiki Coriander, who wants to ‘dance the tango on Mount Kilimanjaro with a bearded lady’. Kiki’s comrades are also on a bizarre trajectory: Jumper is in love with a snake called Trix and then there’s Bob, an ‘ordinary bloke who might just hold the secret to time travel’.
“It’s the journey of three flawed and fabulous characters in the search for identity and fulfillment, whilst coming into contact with a bunch of other quirky and outrageous characters along the way,” Davies explains.
“It’s a world where there are no boundaries, no dream too big, no story too small.
“Oh, and all the stories are based on actual events.”
In fact, truth be known, Davies does have a penchant for hirsute women:
“I’ll say it straight – I have a weakness for women with facial hair – politically and aesthetically.”
Davies went into the project blind. Not knowing what she was part of creating, the only information she was armed with was, “that it was a play about everything”.
“The script came out of incessant storytelling, a two-week commitment to say ‘yes’ to everything, inside and outside the rehearsal room – of course with reasonable exceptions.
“I feel like this play is so deeply personal to everyone that worked and continues to work on it. There’s definitely no shortage of heart.”
There’s definitely no shortage of a certain ‘madness’ either. The name of the show was taken from the adage, ‘mad as a cut snake’, which over time was shortened to, Cut Snake.
“The reality is we’re all cut snakes,” Davies says. “I can’t imagine any other name that would be as fitting.”
Incorporating a mix of genres Cut Snake is a good example of a production that utilises all of its actors’ skills. From highly physical theatre to cabaret, the actors are certainly delivering bang for your buck.
“Working across genres can give you an enormous amount of freedom and inspiration,” Davies says.
“There have definitely been rehearsal spaces throughout my career where you leave 70 percent of your palette of skills at the door, but with this it was almost dishonest to leave anything out.
“[Arthur] embraces the multi-disciplinary skills of its artists, explores the grit and grime of human beings without shying away from the glitz and glamour and everything in between, and they absolutely aren’t scared of being outrageous.”
Cut Snake, February 27- March 9, Meet at Theatre Works box office, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda, theatreworks.org.au