Holden Street Theatres have, once again, a large line-up of shows during the Fringe, and several were presented at their media day. The first was written by Ben Schiffer, known for being one of the lead writers on the British television programme, Skins. This play has an audience capacity of only 20, sitting on chairs set against the four walls of a small room.
The play is set in a darkened bedroom, where a couple burst in, collapse onto the bed and have sex. There is a brief pause while they get their breaths back, and then they begin to talk. She refuses to allow him to turn on the light and so, effectively, it is much like listening to a radio play. As it happens, there is actually a small degree of light leakage from outside so that, over the half hour, ones eyes become accustomed to the darkness. Even so, it is impossible to see much more than vague shapes moving around and the effect is not spoiled.
As they talk we learn a lot about the couple and their relationship but, soon, the conversation begins to take some strange and disturbing directions. All is not quite as it seems.
Director, Martha Lott, understands that directing a play for voices places different demands on director and cast. With no body language, movement, set, props or facial expressions to amplify or clarify what is happening, everything must come through the dialogue.
The couple, played by Sara Lange and Hjalmar Svenna, explore their relationship with the full meaning of their encounter only becoming clear close to the end. Lange and Svenna establish their unseen characters strongly and build the intensity gradually, captivating their invisible listeners.
This is a very different approach to theatre and one that you should add to your Fringe list but, with such a small audience space, you will need to book soon.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: The Manse, Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh
Season: 7, 8 & 9pm nightly Tues to Sun until 18th March 2012
Tickets: $16 to $20
Bookings: FringeTix 1300-FRINGE (1300 374 643), FringeTix outlets or online