Adelaide Fringe 2013


0 Comments 11 March 2013


Turning a traditional rom-com inside out, Sidekicks is the story of Mac (Dan Ilic) and CB (Emily Rose Brennan), a man and a woman constantly relegated to the sidelines in the lives of their major player ‘best friends’, Hunter and Robin.

The play opens with a scene familiar to anyone who has seen a rom-com: the 11th hour dramatic romantic confessional. Except it’s not the leading man down on one knee in front of his leading lady. It’s CB getting ready to get down on one knee in front of her friend Robin, to try and convince her she is in love with Hunter . . . until Hunter’s sidekick Mac decides to intervene. Over the course of the next 70 minutes, CB and Mac retrace the steps of Robin and Hunter’s romance from their point of view and discover some home truths about themselves.

Sidekicks is a fantastic play brought to life by two fantastic actors, Dan Ilic and Emily Rose Brennan. They glide from one scene to the next and navigate the hilarious and poignant moments of the script with ease under the direction of Louise Alston – you will laugh out loud and possibly even shed a tear. Ilic and Brennan also play a host of supporting characters, donning different accessories: a couple of terrible wigs, a bright pink tie and pair of black glasses. You will find yourself empathising with characters who usually only serve as comic foils to the leading man or lady.

Writer Stephen Vagg must take much of the credit for his role in creating two wonderful ‘supporting’ characters. His script is very well written, with a lot of fast and funny dialogue. He references pop culture, poking fun at the conventions of the typical rom-com. But the script also takes more serious turns, as the two sidekicks try to figure out if there is more to their life than always playing second fiddle. These scenes, though not as fun as the ones where CB and Mac trade witty quips, give the play more credibility, as we get to know and understand why CB and Mac play the supporting roles that they do in Robin and Hunter’s lives. The simple stage and setting allow us to focus on the play itself, while subtle lighting changes help the audience to keep track of what is the present moment, what is flashback and what is self-reflection.

The biggest drawback to Sidekicks is the venue: the upper floor of The Stag Hotel. Sometimes the noise from the bar below adds a festive edge to the show, particularly in the scenes that take place at a bar. However, while the space is quite small and the audience does get very close to the action, there were moments (usually the most important ones) when the noise overpowered the actors.

Nonetheless, don’t let these slight drawbacks detract from what is a fantastic show – just make sure you get there early and snag a seat right at the front. Sidekicks is for those 18 years and up, from 20-somethings looking for love to 50-somethings in search of a good love story and all those in between. If this is any indication of what the supporting characters have been getting up to in rom-coms all these years, we’ve all been missing out.

Sidekicks is showing at The Stag Hotel, corner of Rundle St and East Tce, from 8th – 17th March.

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