a moment to love

Vivian-Nguyen-photo-by-Bonn-CreativeVivian Nguyen’s a moment to love was shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwrights Award. It’s always worth seeing new work that is shortlisted for awards. This is her first play and it’s already ensured that I want to see her next ones.

And it’s always worth seeing new works at Melbourne Fringe. This festival is all about supporting independent artists. It’s an opportunity for creators to experiment and find the audiences who are going to support them for many years to come.

Nguyen’s work, which she also performs, is about being 27 and figuring out what you want and don’t want from relationships. There’s still guilt and ongoing anxiety from being told by her mother and school that virginity matters. But sex can be amazing.

This is her story of one-night stands, making pasta on a date, chatting on apps (a voice message – really!), period discussions, more anxiety, and all those experiences that are so familiar to anyone who has been through them.

It’s standard date-story material, but the production never feels cliched. Much of this is due to tight direction (Alanah Guiry) and a production, light and sound design (Sam Diamond, Tessa Atkinson, Giovanna Yate Gonazalez, Robert P Downie) that ensures the script never feels slow and that the emotions driving the character are always driving the action, movement and look of the show.

But it’s Nguyen’s authentic and vulnerable performance that makes it an engaging story. Being her story, it’s so close to her that caring about her becomes personal. It doesn’t matter that the dates feel so familiar because she experienced them for the first time in ways that only she experienced them.

And you get to go to The Motley Bauhaus, which has an amazing program of original independent shows all Fringe. My only regret was only seeing one show last night.

a moment to love
Black Box Theatre – The Motley Bauhaus, 118 Elgin Street, Carlton
Performance: Tuesday 4 October 2022
Season continues to 9 October 2022
Information and bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au

Image: Vivian Nguyen – photo by Bonn Creative

Review: Anne-Marie Peard