Simply Fancy | Pig IslandRealised group devised theatre is a wonder to witness, largely because it is so rare. The process of creation, erratic as acid jazz, tears many a budding theatre troupe asunder with clashing egos and creative differences. This was my first encounter with Pig Island, but from what I could ascertain from the preview night crowd and the performance itself, they revel in the group devised form and have embraced it as part of their signature style.

Simply Fancy is a rollicking adventure in which Dad aka Brian (Charlie Garber), Julie (Claudia O’Doherty) and Roy (Nick Coyle) search for a pineapple, kiwi fruit and guava to make a fruit salad for Grandma’s birthday present. Sounds simple? Well it ain't! The narrative is broken like so many election promises and aspects of the performance are absurd, but in a traditional sense rather than theatrical. What holds this veritable mosaic of scenes together is the dynamic performances of the three cast members.

The production values are simple; making use of minimal lighting, set, costumes and props, instead relying on the strength of performance displayed by Garber, O’Doherty and Coyle to carry the show with character, dialogue, expression and movement. Together the cast invoke the many locations visited throughout the show from a pineapple garden in the Forest of Apathy to the wild reaches of cyber space. 

The high level of energy the cast pour into the show throughout the performance is nothing short of breath-taking. The comedy is dry, self conscious and perfectly timed. The humour is so silly it will make you laugh but at the same time so intelligent that it’ll make you think (please pardon the oxymoron). Simply Fancy walks an awkward tightrope that audiences will either love or hate, personally I loved it as did the preview night audience… but I don’t think the humour is universally appealing because it is so deliciously mad.

The whole production reeks of fringe theatre, which I found refreshing outside of an actual fringe festival. The absence of fringe theatre is especially noticeable in Sydney where the Sydney Festival has been fringeless for too many years now. Simply Fancy is rough, raw and deliriously funny. If you like a laugh and a clever story infused with a hint of magic and fantasy then get yourself down to the Old Fitz Hotel. If you don’t, you’re probably better of sitting at home in front of the safe blue glow of your television.

Vanilla Productions presents
Simply Fancy
by Pig Island

Venue: The Old Fitzroy Theatre | Cnr Cathedral & Dowling Sts, Woolloomooloo
Dates: Tue 6th Nov - Sat 1 Dec
Times: Tues – Sat @ 8pm & Sunday @ 5pm
Tickets: $20 Concession, $28 Adult, $34 Beer, Laksa & Show  (+ bkg fee)
Cheap Tuesdays: $16 Adult, $24 Beer Laksa & Show (+ bkg fee)
Bookings: or 1300 GET TIX

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