Monday 19 September 2016

Saving Spiders - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

In Saving Spiders, presented by Darebin Arts Speakeasy and GRANITE for the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival,  Tina is a young woman who is living her life as if it is one big party. Between her boyfriend Grant and best friend Gracie, their shared existence consists solely of sex, drugs and good times. There is little responsibility in any of their lives, just a lot of fun - until the moment the fun stops, and things can never be the same again.

Saving Spiders relies on its cast to ensure its success, as it is very much a character driven piece. Fortunately, Zoe Boesen, Paul Blenheim, Ryan Jones and Leila Rodgers (who also wrote the show) all embrace their characters wholeheartedly and their resonant interactions with each other feel as If they have known each other for years.

The intriguing story develops organically and this is due to Rodgers’ ability to write strong fleshed-out characters where much is understood about their relationships without Rodgers’ needing to explicitly state it. It feels like Rodgers is writing about us, or people we know, so we can instantly relate to their lives and actions.

As the narrative continues, Rodgers takes a less linear path as we begin to go inside Tina’s mind and see how she is slowly unraveling for reasons that are initially a mystery to the audience. Brigid Gallacher’s skillful direction is a highlight here, particularly the scene where Grant and Gracie begin to clear out Tina’s bedroom, exposing the cold hard realities of Tina’s life in the present and how the party is well and truly over.

Everyone wants to be surrounded by their best friends, someone they can trust implicitly and always know they will be there for them. Saving Spiders explores what happens when that is lo longer the case. Powerful theatre that is highly entertaining.

Venue: Northcote Town Hall, 189 High St, Northcote, 3070 
Season: until 24 September | Tue - Sat 9:15pm, Sun 8:15pm 
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc/Cheap Tuesday/Groups 4+
Bookings: MelbourneFringe Festival
*Original review appeared on TheatrePress on 18 September 2016.

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