It is the late 1800s and the audience is in Holland, where Sir Charles Penworth is carrying out experiments in science and brain surgery. Penworth, along with his assistant Helen Travers have found themselves a new subject onto which they can conduct their harsh and vindictive experiments. Their mysterious subject is a wild jungle girl called Lilith and throughout the performance we learn the tragic and unpredictable fate of all three characters.
Lilith: The Jungle Girl is an over the top comedy drama from Australian company Sisters Grimm. It deals with the the themes of identity and acceptance in a madcap and flamboyant way and never for a moment takes itself seriously. The story is a three hander with the abrupt and abrasive Charles Penworth (Candy Bowers) looking to turn the feral and unassuming Lilith (Ash Flanders) into a proud and respected Dutch citizen. Meanwhile the jealous and under appreciated Helen Travers (Genevieve Giuffre) looks helplessly on and attempts to take control of the absurd situation.
Sisters Grimm like to present experimental and queer stories on stage. They also like to mix a variety of media and with Lilith: The Jungle Girl they definitely achieve this. The performance combines projected animation, grime music, shadow play and physical theatre to present the comedy. The set design stands out, with all the objects (tea cups, books and a phonograph for example) covered in shiny black material that makes them look like they have been coated with a bin liner. This adds to the antiseptic aesthetic of the laboratory location and also works as protection against the slimy clay like substance that Lilith is smeared in. This clay makes its presence known when the characters find themselves sliding around the stage. This adds to the comedy and also gives a tangible and earthy feel to the innocent and naive Lilith. With Lilith: The Jungle Girl Sisters Grimm have created an excellent comedy, which might just be a little too crazy for a seventy minute show.