Once upon a time there was an alien called Natalie. Or Nat to his friends. Nat informs us that it's this thing that these alien creatures do where they shorten names for their friends as a term of affection and we wouldn't understand because we are human. And so we enter the whimsical storytelling world of Stuart Bowden with his new show When Our Molecules Meet Again* Let’s Hope They Remember What to Do *Probably in Space.
We follow Nat as he arrives on Earth and hear the alien's observations on the nature of humans and their peculiar behaviours and way of thinking. This leads Nat to begin questioning his own thoughts on life, death and everything in between, particularly after meeting up with his alien nemesis Sammy. There's a playful nature to Nat's personality but it's also laced with melancholy and loneliness that's demonstrated through some singing and music.
There's an overarching theme in When Our Molecules Meet... of not sweating over the little stuff and accepting what happens in life. Bowden further emphasises this idea by having Nat reading his own story to us off a script. Despite this being his own personal account of what happened, there are numerous moments when Nat loses his place and anxiously tries to locate where he's up to or his looping pedals and sound don't work quite the way they should so he goes back and re-does the line.
No matter how prepared we are for something or how confident we feel, there's always the possibility that it won't go according to plan and how we react to it is what shapes who we become. Nat's deadpan reactions to the earlier mentioned difficulties in the show become his most endearing quality.
When Our Molecules Meet is an oddly charming show that will find its way into your heart and mind, and have you walking out feeling more calm about your own life and perhaps offering some clarity and perspective on it too. It's impossible to not lose yourself in Bowden's highly descriptive and engaging surreal storytelling about dancing like no one is watching and simply trying to be happy.
Click here to read my interview with Stuart Bowden.
Venue: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne.
Season: until 22 September | Tues - Sat 8:00pm, Sun 7:00pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc | $18 Group 6+
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival