Wherever She Wanders review


Wherever She Wanders at Griffin Theatre Company. Photo by Brett Boardman.

TW: discussion of sexual assault.

It’s a windy Saturday afternoon in Kings Cross, but you almost forget about the outside world as you are sucked into the world of award-winning Australian Playwright Kendall Feaver’s Wherever She Wanders, directed by Tessa Leong.

Set in a residential college on the grounds of an Australian university, the play explores sexual assault and rape culture on these campuses. An issue highly relevant in today’s world – particularly with the rise of social media.

The play takes a deep dive into patriarchal institutions and online activism and highlights the clash between older feminists and the new generation of feminists. This is portrayed through the characters Nikki, a third-year undergraduate student and Jo Mulligan, College Master and the first appointed female master in the college’s hundred-year history (that in itself says a lot). Nikki is highly passionate and determined to bring every matter of misogynistic jokes, harassment and discrimination to Jo’s office – but can’t comprehend why Jo doesn’t have a bigger reaction to the toxic culture on campus.

Wherever She Wanders at Griffin Theatre Company. Photo by Brett Boardman.

The whole cast is very strong. Nikki is portrayed with a beautiful vulnerability by Emily Havea and Fiona Press as Jo gives a very strong multi-faceted performance. Both keep the audience in the palm of their hands throughout the play. A special shout out goes to Mark Page as Gerald (Ghazali) who not only highlights the issue of people of colour being used as a token to tick a box but also brings some much-needed comedy to the play and had the audience smiling every time he came on stage.

Feaver has a beautiful wit to her writing and I am in awe of her perfectly crafted scenes that build the right amount of tension and comedy. You can clearly see how much research has been put into this work.

The use of image and video display is something that is very popular in the Sydney theatre scene right now, and it is used effectively in this play as we move between the physical and online world, which helped bring to life the fantasy world of a video game (which was unexpected but delightful). Hats off to Ella Butler’s set design and video elements by Susie Henderson.

Wherever She Wanders at Griffin Theatre Company. Photo by Brett Boardman.

Wherever She Wanders doesn’t give you the cathartic ending we are all hoping for. Instead it invites you to reflect on these issues that are very real in today’s world. Highly recommend seeing this show before it closes.

Sarah Carroll, 25 (She/Her)


Surprise – I’m back out of reviewing retirement to talk about another show! Theatre is back and finally, Kendall Feaver’s Wherever She Wanders has hit the Griffin stage – but before we get into it let me give a trigger warning: this show contains themes surrounding sexual assault, racism and violence.

Wherever She Wanders at Griffin Theatre Company. Photo by Brett Boardman.

So let’s do context: Nikki goes to uni and things seem good we learn, we party, whatever – until a sexual assault allegation surfaces and things go down. There’s tension in admin, more stories surface, friendships break, there’s a musical number BUT I’M NOT GONNA SPOIL IT!!

Listen, a lot happens in this show, but it focuses on sexual assault, specifically the culture and how it manifests in this specific setting. I think Feaver does pretty well with it (if you know me you know I’m obsessed with her writing) and I think it has all the good elements, I just personally struggled to find what the point was, where this piece is landing– like what’s REALLY the thing here? It started a bit slow– which, whatever– then at the end of the first act I was in hook, line, and sinker, hyped up for Act 2. Sadly for me, I kinda got off it. I just hoped the story would progress in a different way and do more.

Wherever She Wanders at Griffin Theatre Company. Photo by Brett Boardman.

Regardless, I think the dialogue is great, the characters are great, the structure etc, it’s all good things, and I’m not here to drag this piece of writing because I do think it’s important and relevant and interesting – it just wasn’t hitting how I thought it could have. The acting across the board was 10/10 – but let me talk about Julia Robertson because it was giving for me!! She just made a performance that had all the great things you want from an actor but it was so effortless and natural, and I think her character had the most interesting arc in the show. The design was fun and classic, they included some projections which were fun, they had some cool video game thing going on, the lighting was cool, like, whatever I have nothing bad to say about it.

I’m really glad I saw this show and I might let it marinate a bit and I’ll probably have some new things to say in a week. I think the work is speaking on important social and cultural issues, the way it was done sadly just didn’t hit for me. Maybe it will hit for you though so why not get out go see some theatre? This show plays till early December at Griffin Theatre Company.

Adam Stepfner, 21 (He/Him)

Griffin Theatre Company’s Wherever She Wanders is playing at the SBW Stables Theatre until 11 December. Book your tickets here.