FRINGE REVIEW: Bus Boy
2016 saw Rorschach Beast wowing audiences with its premier production Girl in the Woods, culminating in the nomination and acquirement of various awards, including Best Emerging Artist. Upon viewing their brand new 2017 show, Bus Boy, however, it is evident that Rorschach Beast (headed by Geordie Crawley and Izzy McDonald) have in 2017 soared well and truly above the ‘emerging’ status of yesteryear, and are well on their way to becoming a hallmark of Perth theatre.
Bus Boy, in short, is a play about identity. This of course is not only one of the fundamental struggles of human existence itself, but of growing up: trying to fathom one’s place in a world swimming with confusion and uncertainty.
The eponymous character Bus Boy, played with great sensitivity and skill by Sean Gaustavino, appears to know exactly his place in the world-- or more accurately: the world he knows and understands. Enraptured with buses and revering Transperth, Bus Boy happily lives in a secluded and idealised world in which the bicycle he rides around Rottnest Island is actually his own bus.
Jerry, on the other hand, is perhaps the antithesis of Bus Boy. Worldly, unhappy and attempting to forget a traumatic incident, she has a coarse yet life-weary quality to her that is beautifully injected by actress Izzy McDonald. If Jerry were to be summarised in one word, it would be ‘lost’: lost in her concept of morality, in the direction in which her life is going, in understanding what she enjoys.
The two characters are ultimately drawn to one another by their opposition in character: Jerry introduces Bus Boy to the ‘real world’ he has been so blissfully sheltered from, a world of parties and rebellion. In turn, Bus Boy shows Jerry the simplicity of dreaming, as well as clear cut right and wrong, “good guys” and “bad guys”. Together, through the progression of a single night, friendship is forged and lessons are learnt.
Bus Boy, whilst short (approximate 50 minute run time) has been packed dense by writer Izzy McDonald with thought-provoking questions, interspersed with bouts of quick-witted and glorious humour. Geordie Crawley’s direction is splendid, making the most of the limited props on stage: the bicycle becomes a means of possibility, adventure and at times escape, blurring the lines of fantasy and reality. Bus Boy is an poignant and utterly unmissable show this Fringe Festival, guaranteed to make you feel a plethora of emotions, old and young alike.