Review: One

Presented by Tutti
Reviewed Friday 20th May 2011

Venue: Queens Theatre, Playhouse Lane, Adelaide
Season: 7:30pm Sat 21st, Thurs 26th to Sat 28th and 2pm Sat 21st and Sat 28th May 2011
Duration: 45min incl interval
Tickets: adult $20/conc $15/Fringe Benefits (only at the door) $15
Bookings: or

Tutti are presenting another show that is guaranteed to make friends and influence people. Under the sensitive direction of Daisy Brown, five performers explore the theme of being alone and lonely, through a combination of physical and text based theatre. Wendy Todd’s set design, made primarily from various sized cardboard boxes, is a vital part of the performance and Juha Vanhakartano’s lighting adds to the feeling of separation by defining small areas within the overall performance space, as well as other techniques. Mario Spate has assembled an interestingly eclectic mix of music that runs throughout the performance but, occasionally, is a little too loud and obscures the monologues.

Joel Hartgen sits to the left of the audience, most of the time isolated from the others, with only his cardboard cut-out make-believe friends for company. Alistair Brasted loves coffee and it has become the focus of his life. A trained tenor, he sings Nessun Dorma, from Puccini’s opera, Turandot, as he makes pyramids by stacking empty cardboard coffee cups. Jackie Saunders compulsively moves, arranges and rearranges the boxes into walls, windows, doors battlements and abstract shapes. Jane Hewitt has nobody to love and nobody that loves her, and she finds it impossible to love herself, and Trish Ferguson hides amongst the cardboard boxes as though in a child’s cubby-house.

During the performance they reach out, ask for help, make connections, face rejection and much more. This is a rich and rewarding performance, with their diverse experiences with loneliness and isolation weaving an intricate web for the audience to unravel.

This group have focussed on physical theatre in earlier productions, so the inclusion of numerous monologues is a new challenge for the performers. Not only that, but these monologues are deeply personal and the performers are extremely brave in opening up in this way to an audience of friends, family and complete strangers. These are their own stories, not some work of fiction.

As with all Tutti productions there is something intangible: a generosity of spirit, a gentleness, a willingness to give, a warmth and a degree of playfulness, that makes their work something very special. There is no doubt that all involved with this organisation are loving what they do and it sweeps the audience up in that enthusiasm. Make every effort to get along to this beautiful and moving production.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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