‘Loaded’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

‘Loaded’ is a double bill of new Australian works starring of some of WAAPA’s finest talent. The two, 1-hour plays are ‘Girl, shut your mouth’ which is a character study by Gita Bezard, and the second is ‘Tonsils + Tweezers’ crafted by Will O’Mahony. These two award-winning plays were developed by these young, highly admired playwrights, with the support of Playwriting Australia at the 2014 at the National Script Workshop.

These World Premieres, part of the Perth 2016 Fringe World Festival, are being presented by the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Lab – a ‘melting pot’ of talented mentors and new graduates designed to develop confidence and ambitions.

These shows can be seen nightly at 8.00 pm until 7th February at the Studio Underground, within the State Theatre Centre of WA in Northbridge.


Lawrie Cullen-Tait’s set design for the first play, created a large playpen for the ‘youngsters’, emphasising their juvenile outlook. For the second play, this 6-metre square framework was raised vertically to act as a window to the world.

The Sound Designer, Joe Lui, has constructed a soundscape that you could close your eyes and soak up. The magnificent audio is in quadraphonic; when a sound effect is required, he considers it fully – does it require reverberation or echo? What is the volume and speed? Very clever work.

Lighting designer, Mark Howett and his assistant Chris Donnelly have obviously worked closely with the sound design. The lamp angles, colour and intensity were perfect. The timing of the lighting changes was critical to the suspense and required superb control by the operator.

The amazing talent from WAAPA and the Creatives just ooze quality, with a collection of honours that would make even their mentors envious.


‘Girl Shut Your Mouth’ is a gripping tale, written by award winning, Gita Bezard and directed by equally talented, Jeffrey Jay Fowler.

       A gunman burst into a senior school classroom, and shot 16-year old Katie (Jessica Paterson) in the head. With only a short time left to live, Katie is enjoying sharing and reliving her few minutes of horrifying fame. When she realises that she is heading to a place where people are free to enjoy life, and without her parents breathing down her neck, her effervescent friends, Mia (Stephanie Panozzo) and Grace (Shalom Brune-Franklin) think that Katie’s future sounds wonderful – perhaps they should devise a way to join her. When nerdy, ‘normal’ Darcy (Brittany Morel) tries to re-join the misfit group, she meets massive opposition.


The writer and director have perfectly captured the new, irrational teenage attitudes. There is a wonderful, fast paced rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. The tension is built up beautifully, and although we are watching some nutcases, their logic is fully explained and the whole scenario is horrifyingly believable.


‘Tonsils and Tweezers’ is a new work from WA’s much admired playwright and director Will O’Mahony.

        Whilst at school, Tonsils (Lincoln Vickery) and Lewis (Hoa Xuande) – known to his friends as ‘Tweezers – were involved in an irresponsible, car accident. An accident that changed their lives, but not as one would expect. Strangely the two friends were drawn closer together.

      Now, ten years later, their class is having a reunion. One of their studious friends, Max (Adam Sollis) has ambitions of becoming an outstanding actor and wanders around quoting ‘the Scottish play’. Then there is bolshie Beth (Megan Wilding), a little power pack, who is not shy about expressing her opinion.


Both works were immaculately structured and had very well-observed characters. The dialogue was natural, complete with all the annoying intonations and expressions of today’s youth, highly amusing.

Two amazing plays in a similar genre, starting the new Black Swan season.