Melbourne Fringe – The Baby Farmer

The Laudanum Project The Baby FarmerThe Baby Farmer is certainly a brave piece of storytelling. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for a very good play.

There’s an abundance of description in every sentence, to the point where the text struggles under the weight of it. In other words, the story is overwritten in places. Or, to put it another way, the brooding author brings his dark thoughts to the fore, brutal fingers shooting down upon the creaking mechanism of the typewriter in a diabolical act of dark creation, each thrusting letter slamming it’s miniature blank ink plate onto bare paper – like a cruel branding iron pressed gleefully on virgin flesh – leaving behind a torrid trail of prose more purple than a child’s cold plum-coloured lips having choked to death on a stubborn chunk of Christmas goose.

In terms of craft, for the sake of the performance some leaner passages would have been gratefully received to help break up the dense delivery of other blocks of text.

You admire the play from a distance, as one might a painting in a gallery. Nick Ravenswood’s commitment to the role and memory is certainly to be commended, as is Gareth Skinner playing the keys and cello (some singing as well), however, there was little-to-no emotional engagement. The show may encourage you to listen – it just may not encourage you to care.

The Baby Farmer
Emerald City – Meat Market, 3 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Wednesday 27 September 2017 – 9.00pm
Season continues to 30 September 2017
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: courtesy of The Laudanum Project

Review: David Collins

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