Six Degrees in Melbourne, is a wee showcase presenting six short theatrical pieces from members of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre. This sextet of works each had the same provocations: they must include a secret, trams, and include characters called Mikey (see also, Myki) and Peter.
Hope was set in Melbourne at the turn of the 20th Century as the first tram lines were being put down. A charming-enough two-hander, there was some nice banter between actors Isabella and Alec Gilbert, but the script got a bit heavy on the colloquial in places. Admittedly, the incredible specificity of some of the references fixing the play’s precise location in time was a tad awkward, but the actors did well to find humour in these otherwise harmless moments.
Fair Price to Pay, was a neat demonstration of the linguistic fortitude required when one attempts to avoid getting a fine from the Myki inspector by talking continuously with barely any time for a breath. Mazz Ryan’s increasingly exasperation in the face of Cosima Gilbert’s relentless verbosity was amusing; although the text threatened to derail by the time it had our leads improvising hip-hop.
Handbag, was an slightly unusual telling of a very unusual encounter on a tram. While the brief running time was a slight hindrance with Isabella Gilbert’s character getting confessional far too fast, the compressed storytelling did mean her speech took on some excellent slam poem-type qualities.
Rainbow’s End, was a delightful, if somewhat sombre, tale of a man arriving at a rest home. Eyawn Harry was a little quiet in places, but still led the piece with a relaxed and confident performance.
It’s Not Me It’s You, is essentially one joke – the worse Tinder date ever – stretched out over 10-15 minutes. It’s pretty much impossible for that to be a criticism, however, with the audience laughing more and more as the play went on. Kudos to Isabella Gilbert for jumping in when an expected line did not arrive.
The Woman and the Box, was an enjoyable piece of writing, with a hilariously surly turn by Finn Lloyd, and a beautiful performance by Ai Diem Le. The ending of the play may have been borrowed from Pulp Fiction, but Le’s soothing, melodious delivery was all her own – an engaging counterpoint to Lloyd’s verbal and physical jitterbug.
Six Degrees in Melbourne
La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Performance: Wednesday 4 October 2017 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 15 October 2017
For more information, visit: www.melbournewriterstheatre.org.au for details.
Image: Eyawn Harry in Rainbow’s End – courtesy of Melbourne Writers’ Theatre
Review: David Collins