Overflow is a welcome addition to the theatre scene in Sydney. Most programming comes in various shades of vanilla and prominent trans voices like UK playwright Travis Alananza are rarely heard. Noted for their distinct voice, in 2019 the Evening Standard listed them as one of the 25 most influential under 25year olds. The Guardian asks if ‘they are the future of theatre’ and Alabanza is listed on the Forbes30Under30List.
Overflow is a 70-minute solo performance produced by Darlinghurst Theatre. Directed and designed by Dino Dimitriadis, we follow Rosie (Janet Anderson) as she isolates herself in a nightclub toilet away from a violent thumping against the door. From here, Rosie reminisces about the moments of profound bonding that she’s had in women’s toilets over the years, the experiences shared. But the public loo is also a battleground. The dangers for trans folk are reinforced by a constant drip of water coming through the ceiling and finally an overflowing sink leaving Rosie atop the toilet as she searches for safety.
The design for the production has real focus and is further enhanced by Benjamin Brockman’s astute lighting design. It’s a successful synergy of elements on what is a very tricky stage. Closing the space right down to the realistically rendered club bathroom gives a great sense of intimacy to the piece and helps to amplify the playing. A striking sound design by Danni A. Espositol has a theatrical exaggeration when needed and “realistically” dovetails with the text at other times.
The undoubted star of the show is Janet Anderson. Her performance has incredible energy, nuance, and intelligence. There’s terrific detail in the characters Rosie introduces. Charlotte "the best cisgender woman to ever exist and ultimate ally and protector of the trans" and life-tips giving Zee is memorable. The play flags around the 50-minute mark but Janet is spellbinding. There’s a refreshing clarity to the performance. The company has chosen to keep the work rooted in the UK and, with the assistance of voice and dialect coach Adriano Cabral, Anderson’s dialect is light but flawless. Janet Anderson is a performer to watch.
I appreciated the total experience of the theatre for this production. Big ups to foyer designer Kelly Lovemonster – the Eternity Playhouse had a vibe! It was an exciting place to be. It is a fitting celebration of a play and a great production which overflows (yes, pardon the pun) with trans joy and suffering. Go see it!