Orbiting around the Queen Victoria Markets are four short plays that make up Melbourne Writers’ Theatre’s showcase, Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market. Each vignette shows great imagination, with their respective authors unafraid to play with language.
Alison Knight kicks things off with Wormholes, where Shakespearean actors (played by Ruben Francis and Jonty Reason) and a present day protester (played by Emma Drysdale) meet in a kind of space-time limbo. This was an amusing, intriguing beginning to the night. Ruben and Jonty had good chemistry together and they both worked well with Emma.
Louise Hopewell was next with her cybernetic effort, The Future of Organics, where a mother and daughter (Rebecca Morton and Del Jordan respectively) spar over the use of an android (Lennan Andrusiw) at their Queen Vic Market fruit stall. Lennan thankfully went more Star Trek, less Lost in Space in his depiction of an artificial life form. His removed speech was a nice contrast to Rebecca and Del’s conflict.
Another lovely piece was Bruce Shearer’s, Clothes are just Protective Coatings, this time set among the clothes stalls, leather belts, and model helicopters. The owner (Faran Martin) has an immediate attraction to a customer (Del Jordan), but has to find a way through her cynicism to not only wrangle a sale, but maybe a date as well. This was a sweet number, with Bruce’s dialogue refreshingly heightened and poetic at times. Faran and Del were excellent on stage, weaving a terrific story among the various items hanging from the clothing rack.
The final play was Michael Olsen’s, Arriving Today, featuring Emma Drysdale and Faran Martin. This was a fine enough play lifted by two fantastic performances. Co-designed and co-directed by Mazz Ryan and D. B. Valentine, the four pieces are connected beyond a shared subject or setting. The shift into Gasworks is serving Melbourne Writers’ Theatre well, along with local artists and the audience fortunate to see this entertaining production.
Six Degrees at a Hot Melbourne Market
Studio Theatre – Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Performance: Friday 15 November 2019 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 23 November 2019
For more information, visit: www.melbournewriterstheatre.org.au for details.
Image: Emma Drysdale and Faran Martin feature in Arriving Today (supplied)
Review: David Collins