‘The Rover’ was ostentatious.
Rebecca Murphy’s adaptation of Aphra Behn’s 17th-century restoration comedy sees onlookers gleefully leaning into a swathe of deliciously braided subplots. A carnival of frivolity, crude humour, and undeniably chortle-worthy pursuits; The Rover pleasantly whisks you into the politics and mockery of lust, as though you were at the Globe.
Sat on the Roma Street Amphitheatre’s dimly lit stage itself, you are perched just beyond spitting distance. Let the vibrant bunting flags, lamp glow moths, and shimmering gypsy dresses enchant you through this masquerade of scandal and naivety. Are you driven by the heart? Or hips… You’ll find yourself asking that to the trio of giggling gypsies and the trio of liquor-lipped soldiers alike.
The aptly titled Blunt (Angus Thorburn) is set to have you buckled over in laughter. Stripped to his righteous underwear in an unlikely romance with a swindling siren, Thorburn’s shrieks of “Sheartlikins!” won’t leave your head for weeks.
Be delighted as the eclectic band (consisting predominantly of cast members) swing through acts, jaunt along the amphitheatre steps, and set moods in the shadows of side stage. Find yourself particularly intrigued as Don Pedro – QSE Founder, multi-instrumentalist, and Artistic Director, Rob Pensalfini – romps, jangles, and strums his way through every narrative, adding just the right amount of older brother’s frustration.
Be dazzled (and duly frustrated) by lockets of love, handsome bets by clumsy men for whimsical women, double entendres, and the dramatic thrusts of hips (and rapiers!) After all, who doesn’t love egging on boisterous young soldiers donning black breeches and skinny metal swords for the adoration of women they’ve yet to see beyond the mask…
Most importantly, follow as Hellena (Leah Fitzgerald-Quinn) dips wittily out of God’s order and into the swing of deception; challenging her visibility, freedom, and sexual prowess.
Having been produced at over 35 global destinations of acclaim, The Rover makes it clear why this feminist commentary was Aphra Behn’s most prized production of the 17th century. QSE’s devilishly entertaining season is on your doorstep (for all ages) until the 4th of September. Strike while the mischief is rife!
For more information about this production visit the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble website.