Wednesday 28 September 2016

Nothing Special - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

We all want to be something special. As children, we are led to believe we can be by our parents and teachers, and while it can be a positive thing, it can also be quite detrimental. Presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Hotel Now's Nothing Special, looks at what happens when people live their lives based on the belief that they are extraordinary, and more talented and important than the average man.

We follow a young girl, Chlorine (Simone French), literally from from the moment she is born. Her mother informs us that she was not supposed to live beyond the age of five, but that's a defeatist attitude so she was forbidden to die. Chlorine's dreams to be different and unique and to leave her mark on the world as an innovator in the arts are explored through various periods of her life, but when this seems unlikely, it is the harsh realities that Chlorine must then contend with.

Chlorine's vulnerability and fragile ego is captured well by French and she plays well ith the tragedy that feels certain to befall her. Likewise, Tom Halls' character work is a definite highlight of this show. From Chlorine's "dance mum" persona to Othella, the Dean of the academy for gifted children that Chlorine attends, his movements, facial expressions and speech is dedicated and consistent.

The show explores the lengths that people will go to in order to feel successful and be revered. It is an all consuming goal where even - as the two characters are having a (melodramatic) breakdown - they position themselves to still be under the right frame and lighting.

Nothing Special is an eccentric and absurd look of our obsession to be special and to matter. It's a great concept that is executed well by Halls and French. With so many "talent" focused reality TV shows screening at the moment, Nothing Special is a great reality check for those with mistakenly big dreams.

Venue: Sokol Melbourne, 497 Queensberry St, North Melbourne 
Season: Until 30 September | 7pm 
Length: 60 minutes 
Tickets: $25 Full | $16 Conc 
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival 

* Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 28 September 2016.

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