Adelaide Fringe 2014
The Market is part reality TV show, part beauty pageant, part iPhone application and part speed-dating night. Four contestants are given the chance to find their soul mate through a series of drills and competitive events but only one will find true love and happiness. Or so declares the curvaceous, vivacious host Selena Martinez. What ensues is very different and unpredictable.
Introducing your host for the evening, Selena Martinez—a self-professed love expert with experience and a semi-autobiographical book to prove it (available at all good book stores and online). She puts the contestants through their paces by making them perform elevator pitches on what makes them an ideal soul mate, demonstrating their various talents, making them take ‘selfies’ and have the audience rate these photos, and of course coaxing them to tell her and the audience their deep, dark secrets in the Confession Room.
The contestants comprise of: Simone—a questionably young criminal lawyer; Gavin, an inconspicuous, run of the mill marketing specialist; Melina, a hyped-up kindergarten teacher; Lucas, an indefinable, unclassifiable, organic bartender; and Amber Jade, a self-absorbed teenage pop star. They respond differently to the challenges put before them but all contestants carry their personalities and comedic talents throughout the show. While there is an element of reality and truth to all of their characters and situations, they were overstated and embellished for the purposes of comedy and entertainment, which felt strained and overdone at times. Nevertheless the performances were engaging and enjoyable, particularly Lucas and Simone who were effortless and the most realistic characters on stage.
The Confession Room was the most engaging part of the show as the audience was able to connect with each character more intimately and see past the superficial personas. This showed the audience the depth of each character and how past relationships had contributed to their growth and development. The Confession Room was also where the characters revealed unexpected attributes about themselves, some of which shocked the audience more than others; these revelations were also exaggerated for the show but not far from the truth.
The venue was appropriately decorated and modified, complementing the satirical, eclectic (dare I say ‘hipster’?) ambiance of a ‘reality’ TV dating show with soft lighting, candles, mismatched furniture, DIY décor and handmade props. It helped the audience relax and interact with the actors, allowing them to take advantage of the space use all of it for the purposes of interaction and connection.
The Market was entertaining, at times thought-provoking, and honest. It is clearly targeted at Generation X and Y with contemporary jokes and quips referencing popular culture and their current lifestyle. It touches on the predicaments and difficulties of relationships in the 21st century—how to meet like-minded individuals, what a successful relationship comprises of, and what people prioritise these days. It is a successful reflection on current society.