The Best of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sunshine Super Girl

Shortlisted for the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama, this landmark Australian work written and directed by Andrea James (Dogged) tells the heart-warming story of Wiradjuri Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley. 

A young girl hits a ball against the tin wall of her family’s home with a fruit-box bat. This is where it all began for Evonne Goolagong. Hers is a quintessentially Blak Australian story about a girl from the bush who dared to dream, and with the unlikely support of an outback farming town, rose to become the No. 1 tennis player in the world, and a household name by the age of 19.

Ella Ferris stars as the young Evonne, beautifully portraying her rise from humble origins to headstrong champion. She is joined by an ensemble of performers including Jax Compton, Lincoln Elliott, Katina Olsen and Kirk Page who seamlessly transform between a range of different characters throughout the course of the performance. Their work together to create some beautiful movement sequences and stylised tennis choreography is fantastic.

The staging of the performance was quite unique with the MTC’s Sumner Theatre’s stage area surrounded on two sides to create a court-side seating reminiscent of Wimbledon. The stage area is magically transformed throughout the performance with the use of some clever floor projections that compliment the continually changing episodic structure of the piece. The sound design also really enhanced the performance by creating a sense of place and mood.

Sunshine Super Girl arrives in Melbourne following acclaimed seasons around the country, and will be playing at the MTC on Southbank until December 14.

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By Michael Kent