Adelaide Fringe 2012
The theme of love runs through five ten-minute plays—a young man who’s about to tell his best friend that he’s been in love with her since high school, a married couple who refuse to let go of the past visit a therapist to sort out their problems, a couple who play out their own version of Macbeth, a prostitute and toilet cleaner find comfort in a very unexpected place, and two online gamers find and lose love simultaneously. All of this is played out with humour, whimsy, and a touch of nostalgia.
Tonight’s menu included short plays ‘Uncomfortable Silences’, ‘Vintage’, ‘All Hail’, ‘Transactions’, and ‘The Key to the Mystic Halls of Time’. All five plays are a cocktail of wit, nostalgia, sentiment, and hilarity with uniquely enticing characters and stories. Nick, the love sick, awkward thirty year old voices the fears and emotions of what every man must go through when he is about to take the plunge and dive head-first into revealing his love for a woman. The audience is left wanting more; who these characters are, where they’re from, and where they’re going. His recollections and stories are uncanny to everyday life, but expressed with honesty, humour and heart.
David and Jenny have been living in August 30th 1942 since the day they got married (on that very day). All of their scandals, lies and secrets pour out as the couple try to justify their actions to their therapist and ultimately find the truth as their lives and history are revealed. This was a performance that was exceptionally received thanks to the puns, clichés, historical references and the twisted characters themselves.
Diana and Hamish play out their own version of Macbeth in ten minutes—from the time Hamish’s best friend, Duncan, is given the lead role, to Diana manipulating Hamish to (literally) stab Duncan in the back, to Hamish seeing the ghost of his dead best friend. This play had the darkness and thrilling components of the original play, but is delivered in a hilariously ludicrous manner.
Transactions is a relatively sober play, however the characters were brilliantly portrayed and developed. It was difficult not to feel sorry for the toilet cleaner who is in love with a call girl and who spends the last of his money on ten minutes in her company. His sorry attempts at role-playing an ordinary married couple are pitiful, and impossible with two such extreme and stubborn characters. As their fantasies play out, the story turns somewhat predictable but remains heart-warming and poignant.
Finally, in The Key to the Mystic Halls of Time the issue of multi-player online role playing games driving people apart and bringing them together is explored in a very cleverly drafted and timed script. Where one player loses his wife, the other gains a new comrade—there are interesting twists and turns in this play and it is easy to miss a few beats thanks to the fast-paced dialogue and two scenarios in one act, but again it is a hilarious and satisfying story.
The Big Bite Size Soiree was a whirlwind journey through five very different scenarios with different endings, but the laughter and appreciation continued from start to finish. The five short plays were delivered with precision and practice responding to the audience and interacting with them creating a fun, intimate atmosphere. Given that the plays were short, and frequently changed, the simple props kept the audience’s attention on the characters and stories rather than the settings.
The evening was filled with laughs, new ideas and perceptions, and impressive hospitality—these shows are not to be missed. Judging by the audience’s reaction, The White Room Theatre will undoubtedly be back again with bigger bite-sized soirees, tea parties, lunches, brunches and breakfasts.