Friday 13 September 2019

Side A - Melbourne Fringe Festival review

Amanda Santuccione grew up in the era of the cassette. More importantly, she grew up during the obsessions of making a kick-ass mix tape, which included checking your cassette was inserted right side up and patiently waiting for the second the radio presenter stopped talking over the start of the song before pressing record. It's a rite of passage that many of us have gone through, with the music we listen to helping us understand the world we live in and guiding us through life. In her Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Side A, Santuccione uses this idea to take us through some defining moments of her life, from the age of four to 33.

She begins by playing a recording of her younger self hosting a radio show before deep diving into the finer details of cassette maintenance. There's immediate rapport established between the audience and herself, with Santuccione's low-key performance projecting an openness and authenticity. It is because of this that the various anecdotes from her life, including her first kiss at age four, the pressures of teen sex and her crisis of faith, strike such a chord with us.

Audio recordings and sound are a prominent aspect of this show with Santuccione creating and executing these effects with mixed results. A few hiccups on preview night with the audio and making sure the cassette was at the right place broke the flow of the show, but this should be ironed out quite quickly. Presenting past conversations with family members through the cassette recordings is a great way to keep going back to this motif, but some subtle lighting changes to further highlight these conversation would strengthen those scenes. The soundscape however does not mesh with the rest of the show, particularly with its abrupt starts and finishes.

The most potent part of Santuccione's show is her spoken word piece on relationships and being comfortable with yourself. She vividly explores a number of ideas around this and the audience is able to see and feel her emotions coming through, so it's a shame the show doesn't use this style of storytelling more often, as it is very powerful.

There's a touch of sadness permeating throughout Side A, a longing to go back to when life was simpler, but Santuccione ensures it ends on a positive note, with hope and an eagerness to keep moving forward, while still finding time to make the perfect mix-tape.   


Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton.

Season: until 29 September | Tues - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm 
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $24 Full | $18 Conc | $20 Group 4+, Cheap Tuesday
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival

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