Melbourne Fringe 2011

Just Like The Movies

0 Comments 09 October 2011

Richmond’s The Owl and the Pussycat is like one of the friendliest haunted houses you’ll ever come across. Stumble, dripping wet from rain, and be led up a dark, creaky staircase, into performance space The Runcible Spoon. Once seated cozily, chat with the handful of audience members and have a glass of red. Don’t be too loud, or you’ll wake a sleeping guitarist who’s snoozing on the stage’s edge.

Then shuffle around as a cheerful Josephine Were stumbles through the audience, laden with luggage, and wait for her to begin the poetic one-woman show that is Just Like The Movies.

Were’s piece takes inspiration from her solo trip across the USA, which she initially pegged as a snog-fest of American lads, only to discover less Hollywood realities. The poetry that she wrote during this time forms the backbone of the piece, as she moves from New York to San Francisco, picking up cowboys and hippies.

Rhyming performances can carry multiple pitfalls, but the delivery is far from annoying. Instead Were is warm, with a persistent and apparently genuine smile. We begin with close encounters on an aircraft, and are soothed by her rhythmic reflections on all the movie clichés that got away.

The space leaves little room for distraction or distance. The experiences on the road, while disconnected in some places, have a rambling that’s both knowing and nicely in time. How do you escape a sleazy hostel owner using rhyming descriptions of B.B King? Josephine Were will show you how.

Kudos should go to musical accompaniment by Matthew Gregan, who opens the show with an all-American tune and anchors Were’s poetry. More interaction between the two would perhaps give the piece a more cohesive feel.

A performance meant for a lounge room – this is a good thing. These observations aren’t meant for the masses but rather are secrets for the wise few who have chosen the place of audience. Check it out for the venue, the music and to live, vicariously, on the open American road.

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