We've all been there. We've all experienced the highs, the lows, the excitement, the fear and the joy. But eventually, we have to let go of our childhood. No matter how hard we try, we must become adults. Or do we? In Emily Taylor's Backwards, the idea of childhood and adulthood coexisting is shown through a number of characters, both children and adults, who are all played by the talented and engaging Taylor.
There are a variety of stories in Backwards, and Taylor knows the exact moments in which to switch from one to the other and how much of each one to actually show. There is an implicit understanding that we, as the audience, do not need to see everything or be told everything to be drawn into the story and connect with its characters. It is this great skill that Taylor possesses that allows her to be the engaging storyteller that she is.
Taylor's character work is exemplary and her collaboration with Brunswick East Primary School students has most likely helped in really capturing the individual mannerisms of her younger characters. Each person in Backwards has a distinct voice, appearance and presence and it is clear she loves each and every one of them equally, even 38 year-old Godfrey who lives with his parents in their retirement village.
On the surface, the stories could pass as frivolous childhood moments but look a little deeper, and you will find that the moments these children are experiencing are the ones which expose their vulnerability and fears and are ultimately going to lead them into adulthood. Ironically, it's the adults in Taylor’s stories who could do with some life lessons themselves; the overbearing and overachieving mother, the son who has not quite grown up and the retirees who need to start living life.
There are a number of ideas and messages explored in Backwards, however, the overarching one is a reminder that we need to keep that little part of us - the fun part - of being a child. We are never too old to be daring, adventurous and experience new things and that's a great reminder to have at any age.
Venue: Fringe Hub, The Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne, 3051
Season: Until 25 September | Tues-Sat 7.45pm, Sun 6.45pm
Tickets:$23 Full | $18 Conc | $15 Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival