The Culture, Powersuit Productions | Review

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.

The Culture, written by and starring Laura Jackson, is the empathetic and nuanced story of a young woman’s experience of domestic violence in the age of social media, and its revelations about our societal understanding of what it means to be a feminist.

In this era of loud and proud female empowerment, we can be predisposed to unfairly judge women who experience domestic violence, sexual assault, and the limitations of the glass ceiling, “I would have left the first time he hit me, why didn’t she?’ Apparently, having greater awareness of the epidemic that is violence against women means that if we experience gender-based violence or discrimination, it’s our own fault.

Jackson doesn’t hold anything back in this new and improved Will and Grace-esque tale of the straight-girl-gay-guy bestie duo, bringing Katie Monroe (Jackson) and Will Archer’s (Mina Asfour) 2023 inner Sydney world to life in a brightly coloured apartment complete with pink suits, podcasts, Alexa and line-for-line quotations from the Gillard misogyny speech.

Direction by Bethany Caputo is art imitating life in its truest form, as she ensnares you in Katie and Will’s world. Extroverted Katie is bursting with feminist pride and sees herself becoming Prime Minister one day, while introverted Will just wants to meet a nice guy and have life stay as it is. They’ve built a social media following through their podcast, ‘Don’t Get Me Started,’ and are obsessed with Cherry Ripes. Apart from the odd dickhead groping Katie at a bar, life seems pretty breezy. Until it’s not. As the red flags become increasingly obvious over the course of the 75minute show, you desperately cling to the hope that everything is going to be okay if you just ignore them. I say again, art imitating life.

Any woman in her 20s-30s will see themselves in Jackson’s portrayal of Katie, so positively committed to standing with women experiencing domestic violence, but so ashamed when it happens to her. Asfour’s Will is a flawed but loving friend, endearing in his morning boogying in the kitchen, frustrating in his irrational boy troubles, and genuine in his care and concern for Katie, which is palpable in every scene. Will’s support of Katie in crisis could be a textbook guide to survivor-led responses to abuse.

The sensitivity and understanding with which Jackson and Caputo have produced The Culture will, I hope, make each viewer take pause. An achievement in theatre for social change and women everywhere.

Purchase your ticket to The Culture here.

Cabernet Franc Merlot | Wine Pairing

A story like The Culture needs a robust wine to match its intensity, and a blend of flavourful, textural reds is my go-to when I want a wine that stands out from the crowd.

My Pick: Ross Hill ‘Isabelle’ Cabernet Franc Merlot, Orange, NSW

Deep purple, intoxicating on the nose and rich with flavours of blackcurrant and allspice and velvety tannin, you’re sure to finish the bottle in a single sitting.

Purchase a bottle for $30 here.

The Culture, Powersuit Productions | Tasting Notes

Aussie Season3 to 20 May 2023, Flight Path Theatre, Sydney NSW. Produced by Powersuit Productions
Ticket $$25-35
WriterLaura Jackson
DirectorBethany Caputo
Theatre Type & GenrePlay
See it if you likethe Gillard misogyny speech
Wine PairingCabernet Franc Merlot
Criteria for Wine Pairingrich, bold flavours and texture