Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
It’s 2017. The same sex marriage plebiscite is underway and 16-year-old Taz, stuck in a small, rural, and largely conservative town, finds themselves unable to stand by and let strangers decide whether people like them deserve the right to marry. With their friend Shontelle, they come up with a plan to steal all the postal surveys – and they’re determined not to let the eccentric townsfolk stop them!
After two postponements due to COVID, it’s incredible that Taz vs The Pleb made it to the stage in the same week as the rights of LGBTQIA+ people were once again debated in parliament by way of the Religious Discrimination Bill. It’s clear that attitudes towards the queer community haven’t improved as much as we wish they had over the last five years and a strong reminder of the need for more stories like Taz to join the mainstream.
Writer Kasia Vickery’s exploration of this stain on Australian history puts the stories of people most harmed by the plebiscite at the fore, but also offers forgiveness to those who overcame intolerance, ignorance and apathy to become allies and exposes the many, many faces of homophobia. Sarcasm, outrageous one-liners and one fantastically clever montage lighten the tone without trivialising the seriousness of the issues people in the LGBTQIA+ community face.
Natali Caro and Sophie Strykowski as Taz and Shontelle are besties with all the angst, naivety and hope of teenagers determined to change the world. Their bond is strong, their buddy cop vibes super fun – especially paired with Get-Smart-esque music – and their hearts sit squarely on their sleeves at all times. Caro in particular shines as Taz, capturing both their vulnerability and immense strength to truly give the show its heart.
Comprising 10 characters between them, Lou McInnes and Jack Mainsbridge steal every scene they’re in. McInnes as Taz’s mum and owner of the local milk bar gives us the Kath Day-Night vibes we didn’t know we needed, and we love them for it. Mainsbridge’s portrayals of multiple villainous and redeeming caricatures range from laugh-out-loud funny to blood boiling, all whilst being completely relatable – even though at times they hit a little too close to reality!
The beauty of this zany story is that it’s here to heal. It gives people whose lives were impacted by the 2017 plebiscite the allies they deserved and still do need and deserve today. With a stage adorned in bubblegum pink and blue and an Australia Post Box, characters that are both endearing and enraging, and a timely political plot that belongs as much in 2022 as it did in 2017, Taz vs The Pleb is a story that deserves to be heard.
Wine Pairing | Rosato
Taz vs The Pleb is such a fresh and fruity breath of air, it put me in the mood for my go-to on a spring afternoon – a dry rosé!
My Pick: Mercer Nebbiolo Rosato, 2021
My pick is the Mercer Nebbiolo Rosato from Central NSW. This gorgeous pale ruby wine has high acidity and notes of strawberry and red cherry classic to the Nebbiolo grape, accompanied by a bit of citrus, rose, white pepper and cedar. Really well balanced and absolutely delicious, it’s a bit too easy to finish the bottle. Mercer tend to make memorable wines, which is fitting for a memorable and thought-provoking play like Taz.
Purchase here from the maker.
|Aussie Season||9 to 19 Feb, Flight Path Theatre, Rogue Projects|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, political comedy|
|See it if you like||queer stories, politics, satire, grassroots activism|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||easy drinking, fruity, fun|