The Monkey's Mask
by Dorothy Porter
It’s a crime thriller.
It’s where high art meets low life, passion meets betrayal and poetry faces profanity on the streets of a harsh modern city.
Evocative storytelling, punctuated by a live soundtrack on acoustic double bass.
Co-adapted to stage - Joanne Davis & Verity Higgins
Director - Verity Higgins
Performer - Joanne Davis
Live Music - Bruce Millar
Set Design - John Bennett
Multi Media - Erin Mc Cuskey
Producer - Joanne Davis
Performed - Melbourne Fringe Festival, Adelaide Feast Festival, Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, Mildura Writer’s Festival, St. Kilda Writer’s Festival, Ballarat Writer Festival, 45downstairs, Bendigo Allan’s Walk Gallery, Drouin ‘Butter-Factory’ Theatre, Frankston ‘On The Edge’ Festival, Sisters in Crime etc.
Reviews & Testimonials -
"I thoroughly endorse Joanne Davis’ stage adaption of my crime thriller in verse The Monkey’s Mask. The intensity of her performance was both in keeping with the temperature of the poetry as well as being enthralling. My experience of Joanne Davis’ adaption of my book has been a very happy one."
- Dorothy Porter, Author, The Monkey’s Mask
'Joanne Davis, as the sexy and hard-boiled private-eye Jill Fitzpatrick, brings The Monkey’s Mask to life with an in-your-face intensity. Joanne’s adaptation of Dorothy Porter’s award-winning ‘lesbian detective novel in verse’ distills the poet’s already powerful crime thriller into a sharp and gritty one-hour, one-woman stage show. Not to be missed.'
- Lindy Cameron, award winning author
'…this exceptionally good performance by Joanne Davis. Davis and director Verity Higgins have constructed a gripping monologue through the most careful selection of passages from Porter’s much bigger work. All the elements are there – the tension, the mystery, a touch of whodunit – and also the steaminess, which is important in its own right. Adding to the overall effect is the live soundscape by bass player Bruce Millar, where everything from a nervous heartbeat to the noise of the city is brought to life through the most delicate treatment of the instrument. Pick of the week!'
- Peter Burdon, blaze, Adelaide
'In an intimate setting Joanne Davis brought to life the mystery, tension and downright sexiness of the Monkey’s Mask created by Dorothy Porter. The original work is a great read and in this performance, through careful selection of passages, you get all the elements of work that draw you into this quirky Lesbian detective story. Director Verity Higgins and Joanne make sure you walk with Jill (the detective) through this complicated story that is added to by the sensitive double bass sound scape. The gripping monologue delivered so well by Joanne made this such a rich and rewarding experience of story telling.' - Iain Henderson, Chair FEAST Board
'You can see the steam rising from the pavement in this pared-back stage adaptation of Dorothy Porter’s marvellous crime novel in verse, The Monkey’s Mask. Joanne Davis is slick and sexy as Jill Fitzpatrick, thirtysomething private detective investigating the murder of a pretty university student with a passion for poetry and something besides.'
Her well-to-do parents are distraught, her female poetry tutor is more enamoured with Fitzpatrick than solving the case, and a couple of the girl’s sleazy male admirers aren’t all that interested in helping either. Davis effortlessly weaves them into this hour-long show, bringing each one to life with carefully composed gestures that recur like musical themes throughout.
It’s a lovely device made all the more effective by Davis’ understated performance, wonderfully underscored by a jazz-inspired double bass soundtrack played live by Bruce Millar.
If Davis is the smoke trailing questions in the air, Millar is the crackle in the cigarette. Sound, image and movement are meticulously choreographed by director Verity Higgins, who is showing her first work in Adelaide since leaving to study at VCA more than 20 years ago. Let’s hope we see more of her in future.'
- Louise Nunn, The Advertiser, Adelaide