Written by: Lucy Dawber
Directed by: Lucy Dawber
BATS Theatre, 5th March 2020
Reviewed by: Waitahi McGee
The day after seeing Lita, I am still dancing with my mum, playing guitar with my dad, and going to the market with my nana, or as performer Lucy Dawber calls her, “Lita”.
Lita is a journey between an audience and a performer. Dawber, who plays all the characters beautifully, gives us an intimate window into Maria and Gloria’s relationship. Staging wise, The Studio at BATS Theatre was a great choice. There is no backstage but Dawber and her team create a cheeky solve with a washing line strewn across the stage, leaving a metre of space for Dawber to escape behind. Dawber plays with this fantastically, popping back and forth as different characters, sometimes playing behind the washing line, showing changes of character simply with her feet and legs!
Some of the people around me are a bit confused about the story and who is who at times, which I can see being a bit of a problem myself, but it’s not so noticeable that it pulls my attention away from the overall joyousness.
I do feel Dawber has more license to be a little more confident in her performance. There are moments in which her audience is still laughing and she pushes on. I would like to see her let her beautifully crafted moments land.
There are telenovela-style moments that are so fast-paced and dramatic it verges on absurdity and clown, and I am into it. So are the rest of the audience, judging by the roaring of laughter and some patrons, quite literally, unable to stay in their seats.
I’m pleased to see Dawber as herself at the end, which for me gives clarity to the other characters, to the story, and to the heart of the show.
Lita is a vulnerable, vigorous story that reconnects you with family. Who we have loved and who we dearly miss, while looking to the future with a curiosity of what will be. Whatever will be, will be.