The Malta Independent 17 August 2019, Saturday

The glittery side of love

Thursday, 18 April 2019, 10:51 Last update: about 5 months ago

Lucy Burke’s critically-acclaimed coming-of-age drama ‘Glitter Punch’ will soon have its Malta debut at the Blue Box Theatre. Laura Bonnici chats to one of the play’s two lead actors MONIQUE DIMECH GENUIS to find out how she feels about bringing this gritty tale of first love to the Maltese stage.

Having performed in back-to-back theatre productions for the past two years, with lead roles in Masquerade's Amadeus, the original musical Hush, The Crucible, Baxx Baxx and Ninu, Maltese actor and singer Monique Dimech Genuis was ready to take a breather. That is, until she read the script for Lucy Burke's Glitter Punch.

"I first heard about Glitter Punch when a friend mentioned that they had seen it performed at the Vault Festival in London," she says. "I instantly wanted to get my hands on a copy of the script and, after reading it, I could see what all the fuss was about. Understandably, I was both thrilled and overwhelmed to eventually discover I had landed the lead role of Molly in the play's Malta debut."

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Indeed, Glitter Punch received rave reviews during its run at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as part of London's 2018 Vault Festival, where it won a coveted People's Choice Award. Described by the press as "funny, poignant, moving" (London Theatre1) and "beautifully complex, honest and relatable" (A Younger Theatre), the play pushes the boundaries of conventional romance and challenges modern ideas about age, consent and power imbalances in relationships, while questioning how far someone might be prepared to go for those they love.

"It's a great piece of contemporary writing," remarks Monique. "It has so many relatable themes and leaves you rooting for the characters and thinking about how you can find something beautiful in a difficult situation. Plus, it is told entirely from the perspective of Molly, who is an extremely funny, relatable and honest character, so there is a wealth of information too for me to analyse and dissect as an actor."

Glitter Punch tells the story of Molly, a college student from Salford with a troubled upbringing, as she meets John, a man from London who is grieving following the loss of his father. As the two both yearn for a connection, they start a difficult relationship and embark on a journey of forbidden love that will change their lives forever.

For its Malta debut, the play is being staged by local theatre company Masquerade Malta and will feature actor Gianni Selvaggi as John alongside Monique as Molly.

"I actually met Gianni a few years ago," says Monique. "We formed part of TMYT (Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre) for a year and have also performed in many pantos and other shows together. Having worked with Gianni previously, we were able to establish an instant chemistry and understanding with one another. Gianni is also a very vocal cast member and is constantly pitching ideas, which is great in the rehearsal room."

For the play's three-show-run at the Blue Box Theatre, Monique and Gianni are being directed by Petra Sant, who also previously directed Masquerade's acclaimed production of Brainstorm. "Petra is clearly very passionate about the piece and that definitely comes through in rehearsals and reassures me that the piece is in safe hands (as well as us as actors for that matter). Petra really encourages us to experiment and try new things in rehearsal, which allows us to be daring in a very supported environment. As actors we feel involved in the creative vision of the piece."

Glitter Punch is also another opportunity for Monique to work with Masquerade. "This is my third time working with Masquerade and it is always a pleasure. Tony and Veronica [Bezzina] are extremely dedicated and this is evident in the quality of work that they constantly produce. I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with the team again on such an interesting new piece of theatre, in a role that has been a real joy to portray."

'Glitter Punch' by Lucy Burke is produced by Masquerade Malta and will have three performances, on 26 and 27 April at 8pm and 28 April at 6pm, at the Blue Box Theatre, M Space, Oscar Zammit Street, Msida. This production is suitable for audiences aged 16 and over. Tickets start at €10 and are available online at https://bluebox.azurewebsites.net/ or by calling the Ticket Hotline 7979 3737


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