By Eric Scott
By Glace Chase
Directed by Paige Rattray
Queensland Theatre/Sydney Theatre Company production
Bille Brown theatre
Season: March 6-April 1. Duration: two hours 30 minutes including interval. Bookings: 1800 355 528. firstname.lastname@example.org
When the lights dimmed to end this play, the audience spontaneously leapt to its feet and cheered and cheered and cheered. It had that much impact. It’s a powerful, dramatic and at times hilarious look at the life and attitudes of a transgender woman and her lover.
It finally made its world premiere after being shut down by the pandemic in 2020 and it examines the relationship between straight Wall Street banker, Scotty (Josh McConville), Top End Wedding, STC’s Cat on a Hot Tim Roof, and Dexie, played by Glace Chase herself, a transgender performer with whom he starts an affair, just a few months out from his wedding to his ‘perfect’ fiancée.
Triple X also stars Queensland Theatre multi-award winner Christen O’Leary (Antigone, Mouthpiece), as Scotty’s mum, Deb, and Elijah Williams (in his Queensland Theatre debut) as his best mate, Jase. Also making her debut with the Company is Contessa Treffone (STC’s Lord of the Flies and The Harp in the South) in the role of Scotty’s sister, Claire. They are all well-defined and well-acted roles, sympathetically directed by Paige Rattray, who is one of the best.
The program declares a whole heap of warnings: “contains frequent strong language, nudity, adult themes including domestic violence and suicide, drug use, sexual references and sex scenes even blackouts and the use of herbal cigarettes”. So I sat down expecting to be shocked.
In the opening scene with the family there was a blitzkrieg of F-bombs. Too many for my liking; shock impact was lost and the script became repetitive. Thankfully the barrage stopped and once Dexie appeared I was completely drawn into the wonderfully told story.
There is nothing to shock: the play is warm, sharp and peopled by great characters.
There is also the funniest sex scene you’ll ever seen in stage thanks to Chase, McConville and a magical peripheral performance by Christen O’Leary. You’ll never see avocado oil in the same light again!
Thanks go to Nigel Poulton who was the intimacy director an also directed the tense family violence scene. Lighting Designer Ben Hughes and Composer and Sound Designer Kelly Ryall added their touches to this great production. I’ll give no spoilers either, but do look out for a completely unexpected surprise in the final scene.
I have to admit no being close to the transgender scene, but this autobiographical yarn taught me plenty. For one thing I was struck by the sheer femininity of Dexie as Chase played her. She was, as she describes herself, “a woman with a dick”. She was no camp drag queen; she was the genuine article.
Chase herself said: “Dexie is me. With a few crucial differences. But yeah, she’s pretty much me. The story felt like it needed to be told. I really didn’t want to. But I could see that if anyone was going to write it then it should be me”.
Personally, I’m glad she did write it and perform in it, I loved the show. So don’t be put off by the warnings, don’t be afraid, go and see it.