Adelaide Fringe 2016
Welcome to our massage centre, hear the peaceful running water and singing bowls. Meet the workers Gemma and Melissa who have their hands full of oil and funny stories and meet the men they encounter…
Gemma and Melissa are massage therapists, but it is not known whether they provide extra ‘services’, an interestingly ambiguous part of the show. Because of the perceptions and preconceived notions of the role of a massage therapist their relationships with clients and partners are tested.
The actors did a wonderful job playing their parts – standouts were the two protagonists, Gemma and Melissa (played by Eva Justine Torkolla and Danae Swinburne, respectively). Lloyd Bissel, Nores Cerfeda and Sean Collins also played their roles well, carrying the story through. Unfortunately, it was a tough crowd this evening and many of the jokes didn’t evoke the reactions and laughter that they should have.
Gemma and Melissa’s relationship evolves quite rapidly from colleagues to close friends, and the question of providing ‘happy endings’ hovers over the production from start to finish. It is never clear whether this particular parlour offers the services akin to those of Thailand, but the focus on the relationships between the girls and clients hints at the possibilities. Unfortunately, the audience never finds out whether Gemma has a happy ending; the focus is on Melissa and how she handles a client with a complicated life and even more complicated feelings for her.
The jokes were subtly inserted in the script, the characters were distinct and strong, and the story unfolded in a compelling manner. The lighting and effects were used to good effect, even though there were some minor miscalculations and mistimed transitions. Overall, it was an enjoyable performance and interesting portrayal of the massage industry that challenged stereotypes and incited new ideas.