4 Min Read

A Trip of a Lifetime: Sisterhood of the Travelling Lighter

Chick flick meets Aussie banter and a time travelling joint.

It’s uni graduation day for four life-long friends and tensions in each of their lives are about to be forced to the surface, whether they like it or not. Written by Courtney McManus and Hannah Quaden, Sisterhood of the Travelling Lighter immediately gets its on audience on side with relatable and current humour brought to life by Courtney McManus (Nic) herself alongside Stella Banfield (Bree), Clea Purkis (Georgia) and Shannon Rogers (Holly).

Each character fits the cliché personalities you’d find in a 2000s chick flick, the nerd, the funny friend, the hottie and the hippy. Often these personalities are usually portrayed at quite a surface level, however in this production we see fully developed characters with flaws, depth and a lot of flair.

While the group of friends begin to get ready for their graduation ceremony, we hear sweeping statements about various issues they’re experiencing but it’s clear none of them are ready to face them. From family problems, love complications to an existential crisis, each of their troubles could resonate with anyone.

Whether it’s for fun or to just further avoid their issues, they decide to light up a joint. Instead of kicking back and relaxing they go on a literal trip of a lifetime, transporting back in time. In a matter of moments, we’re taken from one location to another with a team of speedy stagehands switching over the space. From a 2023 living room to a 2013 One Direction adorned bedroom, Megan Mak’s production design ticks the nostalgia box. 

Sisterhood of the Travelling Lighter. Photography by Nicolee Fox.

We’re taken to a different scene in the past for each character where they re-live a traumatic memory and try to understand it through a renewed perspective. The group also weighs in with their own thoughts and feelings about the flashbacks, which often leads to them rehashing old and new problems.

I often found myself nodding in agreement with what the characters were saying, as they offered advice and opinions that I’ve given to my own friends (or received). At other times I felt deeply connected to the issues they were exploring, emphasising just how universal some of these topics are.

The show’s relatability can be attributed to all elements of production, the writing, the direction, the design and the performances. Co-directors Hannah Quaden and Ella Cooke have encapsulated the highs and lows of friendship, especially one that has existed for a long time.

The history that’s written into these characters is evident in the way the performers interact with one another, playing off each other in a way that only friends can. They insert quick come backs, have great comfortability with one another and their arguments are full of tension.  

Sisterhood of the Travelling Lighter. Photography by Nicolee Fox.

While the show’s themes are universal, writers Hannah and Courtney have added lots of niche Perth and pop culture references that their target audience very much appreciate and understand (a moment of silence for the Court Hotel no longer being a “real” queer venue). Undoubtedly being their target audience, I had plenty of laugh out loud moments straight from the get-go through to the finish. The comedic timing is always on point, and I have extra appreciation for Courtney’s dry delivery and Shannon’s campy demeanour.

This duo has written a relatable, fun, quirky and heartfelt script which is further enhanced by its direction and team of invested performers and creatives.

Sisterhood of the Travelling Lighter is presented by Crash Theatre Company and is on now until June 3 at The Blue Room Theatre.