Pear-Shaped – Theatre Review

Falling down the rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation.

This dark piece, Pear-Shaped, invites us into the world of two argumentative Jewish sisters, 18-year-old Kayla and her big sister, Frankie. They both have serious issues. Frankie struggles with her sexuality and what’s best described as drug-induced psychosis, while Kayla suffers from a not-so-well-hidden eating disorder. Things start to go south when Frankie, a student designer, neglects her sister, preferring to spend time alone working on her theatre project, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. When Kayla drops off an old box of costumes, she triggers unwanted memories that send Frankie and herself spiralling down the rabbit hole. A place that’s full of dark secrets, pain and mental anguish.


Pear-Shaped for most of its short (75 minutes) running time kept me entertained. The two leads are likeable, and the lighting and video design by Aron Murray is the best I’ve seen at Theatre Works. When we fall down the rabbit hole, I found it extremely effective. Particularly the projected images that flood the set. The production design by Grace Deacon is worth a mention, again one of the better designs I’ve seen at Theatre Works. What I struggled with throughout were the scene locations. Wondering where the characters were in a scene. Are they at Mum’s house? Maybe they’re in Frankie’s studio? While not important for the “Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter” inspired moments, I felt the production suffered when we stepped outside the dream sequences and couldn’t find our bearings.

Written during the 2020 lockdown by Miranda Middleton (who also directs) and Ziggy Resnick, who plays Frankie on stage. Pear-Shaped finds its strength in the relationship between the sisters, Frankie and Kayla. The scenes where the girls are not falling down the rabbit hole resonate strongly. Moments of reflection, disappointment and miscommunication allow us to fall into the characters and into the world they inhabit. The dialogue is naturalistic and honest. But the characters could do with some theatrical flair to honour the environment (the stage) and let their inner souls freely breathe. Issues like location could be solved by thinking more theatrically with the dialogue, and involvement improved by remembering that a good monologue never goes astray.

Ziggy Resnick does a fine job as Frankie, the tomboy. Luisa Scrofani is convincing and sympathetic as Kayla. Miranda Middleton directs with a firm hand that shines brightest towards the end, especially in the quieter moments of the script. Presented by Theatre Works St Kilda and Rogue Projects, Pear-Shaped blends wordplay, magic realism, and puppetry around our obsession with social media, food and weight. Young girls are most at risk of developing an eating disorder.

Sisterly Love ❤️

“It’s a thrill to be returning to St Kilda with one of our most ambitious and timely productions ever,” said producer Robbi James, “throughout covid we’ve seen an explosion in disordered eating, and some of our team have experienced it in their own lives, so we’re setting out to tell a somewhat ugly story in a theatrically beautiful way.”

Pear-Shaped is a dark dramedy about sisterly love. It examines a somewhat ugly subject matter in a confident and often surrealistic way. While not always an easy watch, Pear-Shaped is at its best when focusing firmly on the bond between Frankie and Kayla. This is a well-considered production and a worthy piece of theatre magic.

Photography by Angel Leggas

Selected for the By Theatre Works season, Pear-Shaped will be the first of four mainstage productions from the program to be presented in 2023. 

Show Details: PEAR-SHAPED

Dates: 5-15 April 2023, 7:30pm, Tues-Sat

Cost: Adult $50/ Concession $42/ Preview $28 + Booking Fees

Duration: 75 minutes (no interval) 

Venue: Theatre Works 


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