Everybody loves a good party, especially George. He's got a wife, two kids and a boiled chocolate cake. Life is perfect. Until the moment tragedy strikes. In Gavin Roach's My Wife Peggy, we follow George as he deals with the immediate aftermath of the worst moment in his life and begins to question what the future holds for him and his family.
Dallas Palmer delivers a restrained performance as George as he refers to his happy past, bleak present and unknown future. Throughout the show you see glimmers of the shock and rage that is building inside him but it's a shame Palmer isn't given the chance to explore some of this raw emotion when you consider the issues being dealt with.
The difficulty with a one-person play is ensuring the audience are provided the opportunity to experience what the protagonist is feeling. In this instance, the story does not allow for a connection between the two. Part of this is because there is a very limited focus on narrative but rather a character study of one man's grief where George shares his thoughts only with Peggy, instead of the audience. We are on the outside looking in and never see ourselves as part of this story, which is important to this show's success.
Staging the performance in George and Peggy's living room sets a familiarity for the audience and an ironic sense of comfort. Slightly tattered sofas, bright LEGO pieces scattered on the floor with party poppers and a torn happy birthday sign are strewn around the room. Surrounding this warm environment is the emptiness and darkness of the rest of the stage, as if George has built a cocoon for himself in a futile attempt to block out the world. The addition of the musical interludes between the 'scenes' however, break up the intensity that is created and are unnecessary, particularly as there is no time jump taking place.
There's no denying that death comes for all of us, at any moment in time. My Wife Peggy highlights the overwhelming grief and the fear of reality a person endures when the one you love passes away. This may not be the most affecting demonstration on the topic, but this production does offer a different perspective on how such grief can be faced.
Venue: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park
Season: Until 7 September | Wed - Sat 8:00pm
Tickets: $30 Full | $25 Conc | $20 Students
Bookings: Gasworks Arts Park