Adelaide Fringe 2012
From the unhinged girlfriend to the remorseful boyfriend, the cheating wife to the uneasy runaway, this show explores life through a series of vignettes staged in the front seat of a car. This is an unmissable performance and a definite highlight of this year’s Fringe.
Autobahn is a marvellous example of what theatre can be when it is done properly. For 80 minutes the audience travels the freeway of life, as five short plays explore tensions, secrets and dramas from the front seat of a car.
There are minimal props; those that are used (lip balm, iPods, Subway sandwich) each add to the performance. The set is bare except for two car seats and a steering wheel, the lighting simple and perfectly suited to the storyline. Yet, for all its sparseness, the show manages to take you on a journey that is both heartfelt and harrowing.
These short plays explore a variety of themes—lost love, betrayal, remorse, violence—and the sensational cast never falter in their faithful recreation of LaBute’s flawless script. It is impossible to single out individual standouts within this nine-person team; each actor is professional, engaging and committed to the performance.
There are numerous moments of humour, which the audience respond to, however these are always laughs on the dark side of life, as the show fully explores the breadth of human experience.
The dialogue is familiar at times, reflecting the daily banter that occurs in relationships, but then the stories slowly unravel one thread at a time to reveal the truth of the situation. There are some eerie, uncomfortable moments created with seeming ease, and it is clear that what this script does best is hold a mirror up to society, reflecting back the good and the bad.
In truth, this is the show I’ve been waiting for all Fringe—no gimmicks, flashy costumes or unnecessary set changes—just talented actors and a world-class script that sweeps you away. With a few nights still remaining, I can’t think of a better way to round out the festival than by experiencing the power of theatre stripped back to its roots.