FRINGE REVIEW: Dirty People, Crisp Production
Dirty People exemplifies all that is grassroots Australian theatre in its hard-hitting 70-minute runtime. As you walk downstairs from the vibrant Fringe festivities of Perth into the dimly lit and quietly moody setting of Joe’s Juice Joint, it’s almost hard to believe that you’re in the right place for any kind of play. Of course, Fringe Festival has always been about showing the people around Australia great comedy, theatre and music in the little nooks and crannies of the cities they live in. Dirty People makes the transition from an open theatre to a little bar packed with personality flawlessly, and although I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the play performed last March in the Depot Theatre in Sydney, the closely wrapped seating works wonders for making the audience feel intimately involved in the ever present shitstorm of drama and outward judgement that is squashed into the short runtime.
The characters in Dirty People are about as slick as an oil spill on an iceberg; and just as deadly.
I think the thing that drew me most to Dirty People was the very real nature of the play. Playwright and actor Charlie Falkner clearly strived to lampoon the facets life that he and his peers of his generation often personify; the horribly accurate Gen-Y character list, complete with indifferent and egotistical personalities to boot all feel like some of the real-life characters you could meet sitting on a train out of Perth on night, or walking through Northbridge. From the outset, the characters melt into the setting so well that as an audience member it feels as if you’re watching a very animated interaction between two humans of Perth more than a play. As for the plot, I really don’t want to spoil too much, but James (Charlie Falkner) and Lucy (Charlotte Devenport) are two conniving con artists who are ostensibly meeting for a Tinder date. After some wittily written rapport between the duo and a dash of observational comedy (that interestingly felt directed at yours truly due to a coincidence in the script and where I was standing), the stewing shitstorm of drama begins unfurling itself, and more players are drawn in. Among them, a loveably daft ‘yeahyeahnahyeahnah’ slinging Aussie battler styled bartender, (Sam Delich), a meathead conservative yuppie (Sam Devenport) and his bubbly, frenetic and multifaceted actress girlfriend (Zoe Jensen) are all woven in to the mix, leading to a kind of Guy Ritchie-esque storytelling style. This non-linear passage of time works deliciously in this story, and had me leaning in keenly right up to the culmination of the plot. The rest is really too good to spoil, but I will reveal that the ending ties everything up quite nicely.
I give Dirty People 4 expressions of free speech out of 5.
Catch Dirty People Friday and Saturday night at Joe’s Juice Joint in Northbridge, 7:00 PM.