When you're a single girl, and a well-meaning friend sets you up on a blind date with someone they declare will be "your perfect match", you can't help but feel a little skeptical. After all, too much experience has taught you that plenty of things can go wrong: you don't feel any attraction, he talks about himself all night, he eats with his mouth open, he's a terrible dancer.
So when friends told me that 'Single Admissions', opening at Metro Arts this week, was the perfect play for me, I was wary. I had to admit, it did sound like something I could relate to. It's all about the agony and ecstacy of being a single woman in Brisbane, and sometimes I feel like the most single woman in Brisbane. But there's an entire industry (from the escapism of the "Sex and the City" franchise to some excellent and some intolerable chick-lit) telling us what it's "really" like to be a single woman, and I find much of it to be trite, stereotypical and a bit too "happily ever after" for my taste.
But, like when a blind date goes utterly, unbelievably perfectly (does that ever happen?), after seeing 'Single Admissions' last night, I just can't wait to tell the whole world: I've met my play soulmate. We've got so much in common. I laughed at all of its jokes. And I could see its sensitive side too. Plus, there was a heap of sexy dancing.
I want to shout it from the rooftops: "I'm in love...with 'Single Admissions'!!!!".
Written by the magnificent Tammy Weller, who also plays the role of Kat, the show debuted at the Adelaide Fringe Festival as a one-woman play. In its Brisbane incarnation, Weller is now joined by Natalie Trent and Amy Ingram who play Kat's best friends Alisha and Peta, as well as a variety of other roles, including a disapproving mother, a well meaning "aunt" and "The Pencils", those ubiquitous girls who just can't imagine life without a boyfriend.
Weller, Trent and Ingram are dazzling. They're fearless, sexy, vulnerable and hilarious. As actors, they bare their bodies and their hearts on stage and as an audience member, you can just feel that they're loving every minute of it.
And with this sort of material, why wouldn't they? Weller has crafted an incredible script that embraces the beauty and the terror of being alone, and she knocks you out again and again with her keen understanding of what it means to be a woman in Brisbane in 2010. The humorous parts of singledom are sharply observed, like the best way of getting home after a one-night stand (I hope I can use my "Go Card" on Weller's "Slut Bus") or those friends on Facebook who only want to sign you up so they can show off their blissful married lives. And it's perfectly balanced with scenes from lowest moments of single life: when you just want to throw up your hands and scream to the sky "When is it MY turn?".
It takes a hell of a director to do justice to this wonderful script, and Dan Evans is just the man for the job. He's made 'Single Admissions' into such an experience for the audience. Just to get to the theatre space, you have to show your ID to a burly bouncer and receive your "Slut" stamp, and then you're offered a delicious jello shot (I'm going to call it "ambrosia for glorious wanton women"). Then, to reach your seat, you literally step over the prone bodies of Weller, Trent and Ingram who all look like they've just had a huge night on "the ambrosia". Evans' choice to use minimal set and props and MAXIMUM sounds and lighting effects (I've still got "100% Pure Love: by Crystal Waters in my head) perfectly put all of our attention on his wonderful actors and their stories.
This is a tale told by women, for women, but I really think everyone who has ever loved, or loved and lost, or loved briefly and then tried to figure out how you're going to get home afterwards, is going to find something to laugh at, or something to cry over here.
I'm going again next week, and taking a whole different group of single girlfriends so they can experience this play. And, honestly, I can't wait for that second date.
Metro Arts Allies
by Tammy Weller
Director Dan Evans
Venue: !Metro Arts, Sue Benner Theatre, 109 Edward Street, Brisbane
Dates/Times: Mon 5 April – Sat 24 April 2010 at 7.30pm
Tickets: From $10
Bookings: www.metroarts.com.au | (07) 3002 7100