Presented by: Heartbreaker Productions
BATS Theatre, 23rd August 2022
Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus
Four young women (Abby Lyons, Alia Marshall, Anna Barker, and Mia Oudes) come together for an adult sleepover to relive the intimate memories of their girlhood and teenage years. Inspired by the classic play Love and Information by Caryl Churchill, Midnight Confessions is a series of often-amusing, occasionally heart-breaking flashbacks and direct-to-the-audience monologues that traverse many of the difficulties and joys of being female. It starts with a hilarious scene about a stuck menstrual cup and goes uphill from there.
The performers are a seamless and democratic unit who all contributed to the writing, directing, and presenting of this beautiful piece. They work effortlessly and energetically together to share their feelings on celebrity and real-life crushes, pubescent bodily urges, depression, latent lesbian desires, being grown up but still missing your parents, fat shaming, toxic friendships, and much more. This could easily have been a mess of mixed-up ideas, but the skill of this team is such that this isn’t the case and the whole is united under the consistent and enduring themes of friendship, love, and unwavering support of each other.
Rebekah de Roo’s wonderfully creative eye comes to the fore in the set design, projections, and lighting that create a soft, pink-drenched pillow fort that is the setting for and visual guide to the back-and-forth movement of the vignettes through the lifetimes of the four women. A simple wardrobe of black singlets and pale pyjama pants (Nicky Barker) serves well to emphasise that these are experiences all women (and men and non-binary people) can relate to and empathise with. Touches of music (Cameron Fox) and sound (Alia Marshall) appropriately underscore the action.
While young female characters on stage are often still presented as ingénues, jezebels, or troubled teens, it’s refreshing and empowering to see the female perspective given a bold reworking in Midnight Confessions. The voice of the Heartbreaker Productions team is strong and true and deserves a wide audience to appreciate their fun-filled yet meaningful exposition of growing up.