Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe 2015

Late Night Story, Adelaide Fringe Festival

0 Comments 26 February 2015

Come Fringe time, it is common to see performances that start later in the evening than normal. Rarely are there shows that make use of this possibility to such extent that it is even mentioned in the title. Late Night Story is a mystery that is that much more effective for the darkness that night brings.

It tells the story of Xaviera Grace, a young woman with a hidden past now seeking employment as a governess on an Adelaide estate. The property is in the centre of the city but tucked away from sight, the description bringing to mind the grand houses of the eastern area of Adelaide such as the beautiful Dimora House. Miss Grace comes to the estate for a trial, her performance to be judged by the serious woman Victoria whose exact role in the house is unknown.

Once she arrives, Miss Grace begins to experience some peculiar happenings. On hearing a noise at night, she walks through the house and discovers a man, Alexander, in the parlour. Soon she realises that all is not what it seems. Alexander and Victoria’s stories do not match up – but what is the truth?

As Xaviera Grace, Claire Glenn is wonderfully expressive. The play hinges on her emotive performance, and she certainly delivers. She is well supported by Tamara Lee’s stern Victoria and John Maurice’s lively Alexander.

Written, directed and designed by Van Badham, the level of detail in the script and the set make it evident that Late Night Story is a labour of love. It is richly detailed, particularly in the descriptions of the house that Xaviera finds herself in.

The three characters undergo several transitions throughout the play, and it is within these changes that something is lost. The people that have been presented to us so swiftly become someone else that the otherwise delicate balance of mystery and suspense is interrupted. Miss Grace opens the play as an innocent, wide-eyed girl; her discussion with Victoria about what she is experiencing and a further conversation with Alexander present about-face changes that could be better foreshadowed. These transformations are interesting, but move a little too quickly.

The dining room of Ayers House Museum makes a fittingly grand setting, with the rich surroundings able to act as the estate as well as the stage. A soundtrack of melancholy piano music, composed and played live on stage by Richard Wise, elevates the production once more, with the performance area becoming a real estate with real musicians.

On the way home, the presence of ghosts is more believable than ever. A captivating evening.

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This post was written by who has written 6 posts on Buzzcuts.

Rose is a recent Arts and International Studies graduate and admin wizard. She has a keen interest in theatre, film and performing arts. She also loves naan bread.

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