Melbourne Fringe 2012

Minor Victories

0 Comments 27 September 2012

Created by young New Zealanders (see: professional procrastinators*) Sherilee Kahui, Nellie Pearson and Dan Fraser, Minor Victories showcases the shallow and ambivalent mind of today’s chronically hedonistic twenty-somethings. Using an array of clever media including psychedelic AV projections, regret-riddled limericks and excruciating sock puppets, this series of vignettes demonstrates the trials and, more often than not, failures of the self-aggrandising romantic on the wrong side of Y2K.

Best friends and housemates Rachel (Brittany Plummer) and Lachy (Kent Seaman) awaken one morning to a typical hangover, and go from sketch to gloomy sketch attempting to explain everything that is wrong in their world and why it isn’t their fault. Encompassing drunken nights singing about vomiting up kebabs, the horrors of being forced to work in (shudder) hospitality, and the all-too-familiar Skype lecture from Rachel’s mother dearest, the script is brutally honest and at times uncomfortably relatable.

Minor Victories was written by, and perhaps exclusively for, the wryly narcissistic Facebook generation deep in the throes of their collective quarter-life crises. As I unwillingly live deep inside that impenetrable bubble, the truth often resonated through the comedy in the story. At times I even felt it hard to laugh at the mockery the performers were making of their lives because of how much of myself I saw in them – but that is where the script succeeds. Unlike so many in the generation it showcases, it is very self-aware and - even more rare – charmingly self-deprecating. The abundance of hipster jokes did get tedious after the first dozen and there were flashes of trying too hard at times, but there were plenty of other genuinely funny moments to keep the story natural.

However, within the first five minutes of the performance I was almost worried. Plummer and Seaman initially came on extremely strong, sometimes to the point of overacting. Those early hiccups were quickly put down to opening-night nerves, though; as the actors got into the groove of the evening they went from strength to strength. The humour flowed far more naturally after the midway point and the comical chemistry of the actors began to shine. The simple yet ingenious array of cardboard props and use of the stage was particularly impressive, especially in such a small venue. All in all, Rachel’s mother could almost be proud.

*I’m a New Zealander too, so that’s totally not racist.

Minor Victories runs until 6 October at the Owl and the Pussycat. Tickets are $20 full-price and $15 concession (Tuesday sessions $10).

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