FRINGE REVIEW: Player 2
It's the sixth day of Fringe and you need a little more than a hump day hug to get you to the weekend. This my friends, is the show for you. Debuting at Melbourne Fringe in 2016, this sweet show has been through many evolutions to arrive at the humble, heartstring-tugging performance it is today. If you've made some new year's resolutions to sort your sh!t, this is a good place to start. Ease into the new year with a simple and thought provoking piece of intimate theatre (directed by Kristen Maloney and performed by Tremayne Gordon). The small (literal) Backyard Theatre Collective has a lot of potential and with what they have created, they'll go a long way in the industry. Player 2 is an exploration of death and what comes after, and evokes self revelation from its audience through incomparable audience participation.
The audience participation aspect made the show. The interaction gave the experience an edge that cannot be gained in theatres of hundreds of people. The honesty required by the audience is not for everyone, but is greatly appreciated by a cast who have worked long and hard to make this dream a reality.
While openly presentational at times – creating a distance between the onstage interaction and audience response – the acting was poignant and symbolic. This is combined with a fantastical plot, mixing the impossible and imaginary with the everyday and typical.
Your heart may break a little, as it touches on topics that hurt but there is laughter too, and both characters, twins Philippa and Travis, have their humorous idiosyncrasies. Reminiscent and nostalgic, the child inside you that has loved and lost so much since playing with tennis balls and dolls will thank you for going to this show. At times the set felt like that of Playschool or a kids TV show, with boxes being opened, and costumes and props pulled out that changed the imaginary setting, leading the audience to a different but familiar place in the story. Movement throughout was highly choreographed as to allow full use of the space, and this works well, as the imagination often sequences actions to shape the dreamworlds we choose to live in when we cannot face reality. While Travis' imagination is at the core of the show, it is a personal journey for each and every audience member, tailored to them as far as they will open their minds and let their feelings wander.
After all the hustle and bustle of the first week of Fringe this is the humble show you need to pick you back up, brush you off, listen to you talk about your feelings for a bit, and send you on your way. Fill their seats and let them fill your heart; get there and earn your participation award.