Adelaide Fringe 2015
River is a delightful character who, like many of us, tries to find meaning in life. Where others fail, she manages to view the ordinary as extraordinary and turn mundane everyday activities into exciting fantasies. She is perceptive and offers a unique view of the world in an endearing manner.
This engaging performance by a very talented young woman shows how, with a little imagination and an optimistic attitude, the world can become a brighter, happier place. Claire Lovering plays this innocent, effervescent and vivacious character to perfection. River knows how to make the perfect vegemite toast. When she’s not selling her aluminium foil art outside Woolworths she writes Google poetry and attends strangers’ funerals. The story takes a while to gain momentum and purpose; eventually it becomes apparent that it is about a young woman, an old man and the magic of a wish chip.
River invites the audience into her life and tells them about her routine, her preference for the Woolworth’s café in downtown Sydney, her experiences at strangers’ funerals and her expertise at Googling. She inadvertently befriends an elderly gentleman who has more of an impact on her life (and her on his life) than she could ever imagine. As the story unfolds the audience continues to chortle and respond to Lovering’s performance as she charms them with more anecdotes and opinions.
The set is decorated very simply with a grey café table and chairs, a little pot plant, River’s xylophone on one of the chairs, her tray of tea and fruit toast, and her backpack. It’s plainness is reflected in River’s character—she appreciates the simple things in life, and although she is idealistic, she is also practical and frugal when it comes to finances and other daily necessities. The lighting effects were very subtle, almost redundant, and background music was used sparingly. Like the lighting it was barely audible; however, Lovering was the centre of attention. The script tended to deviate in parts and the main storyline was almost forgotten as River rambled on several tangents, but every event and incident returned to the key characters in her story.
Lovering is a talented actor and the play is somewhat autobiographical—it was a refreshing take on life and a pleasant journey into a significant part of another person’s life. Despite the inevitable melancholic scenes this was an upbeat show with an unforgettable high-spirited character that ignited the stage.