The Enthusiasts | Kate McLennan

The Enthusiasts | Kate McLennanThe Enthusiasts - local girl Kate McLennan's collection of "extreme fanatics, aficionados and all round enthusiastic people" - is a gorgeous show. Beneath the sharply observed, sardonic exterior lies a heart of gold.

McLennan is such a radiant presence she barely needs the stage lights. Her performance was polished, energetic and for the most part perfectly timed; her writing is strong and detailed. The way she embodies her five characters - and with the merest of aids (baseball cap, high heels, a stuffed toy) - is uncanny at times, bringing to mind Chris Lilley of Summer Heights High fame.

McLennan revisits each of her five characters three times over the course of the hour-long show (the antics of one character, Justin Timberlake die-hard Natalie and her soon to be "ex-best friend" Michelle are pre-recorded handycam style on location at Rod Laver Arena). This structure works brilliantly, leaving you hanging for the next installment of each brilliantly realised character. There is a great deal of fanaticising through gritted teeth. Their stories become progressively disquieting, revealing the sad stories and insecurities behind the fiercely and hilariously enthusiastic fronts.

Goal-attainment guru Janine Irene, insufferable teenager Natalie, deluded casanova Chad, and highly-strung prep teacher/Wiggles fanatic Miranda all have their moments of deftness and hilarity, but for my money, it's McLennan's turn as 7-year-old reading and writing enthusiast Janie Brown that steals the show. I was captivated, entertained and even, to my surprise, (almost) moved to tears. Highly recommended.

Pregnant Goldfish presents
Kate McLennan in
The Enthusiasts

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall - Regent Room
Dates: 20th March – 13th April (Not Mondays) Previews 20th-23rd March
Tickets: $20 Full, $18 Concession, $15 Previews
Times: 7.15pm Tues-Sat (6.15 on Sundays)
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013, or at the door

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