Thirsty, VAULT Festival

by Laura Kressly

Sara is in her mid-30s and feeling lost. Newly single after a transformational yet difficult relationship, she looks to her friends for support and inspiration about how not to live her life. They’re all mired in a cishet lifestyle filled with husbands, kids, and yoga. Sara, still desperately missing her ex, knows she doesn’t want these things but somehow has to move on and find a life that’s a perfect fit.

Louise Beresford as Sara confidently captures the queer, elder millennial anxiety that comes from pushing against a lifestyle that she knows isn’t for her. Her sense of self is mature and nuanced, and as a result she struggles to navigate many societal norms around sex and dating. This is especially amplified by her bisexuality, and the biphobia and homophobia she regularly encounters – an awful reality in the lives of bisexual people. Also, her previous relationship led her to discover she’s a submissive into BDSM. Though this is only mentioned briefly and subsequently left out of the plot, it will no doubt influence her navigation of the dating world. Further development of this plot point would deepen the play’s representation of relationships between queer women, and balance the heavy use of humour.

The rest of the cast – Greer Dale Foulkes, Anna Spearpoint and Rosanna Suppa – superbly multi-role as Sara’s friends, mum, boss, and people she dates. The ensemble, though all white, has fantastic timing that brings the script’s comedy to life. This largely lies in their characters’ recogniseable tropes. Writer Stephanie Martin uses these tropes well to create a sharp commentary on contemporary life as a bi woman, though there’s a lack of a pronounced dramatic climax. This is very much a slice-of-life play with dozens of funny moments, but Sara doesn’t have a big revelation, or crisis, or anything else that truly catalyses change. However, more broadly, this reflects how many under-40s have little autonomy to improve their lives as the status quo relentlessly inflicts itself on them. It also queers the Aristotelian dramatic structure, even though there’s a niggle of dissatisfaction as a result. On the whole though, it’s a smart and insightful examination of middle-aged, bisexual life today.

Thirsty runs through 5 February.

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