Hope is the Saddest both begins and ends with a violent traffic accident that draws the same three people into each other’s eccentric worlds. It is a play about death, delusion and Dolly (Parton).
It is devised and directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler, who also stars in this production as Theo. The creative team has breathed new life into Hope is the Saddest for the Perth Fringe Festival, after a highly successful debut season at the Blue Room several years ago. By definition it is a bright, black comedy and the script was just the right blend of tragedy and humour.
All three performers were captivating. Hope, played by Michelle Robin Anderson was superbly endearing. The childlike, eternally optimistic young woman who took all her life lessons from Dolly Parton’s lyrics was not afraid to go to extreme measures when fate made true love land/collapse at her feet.
Theo, the object of her desire, threw up a few hurdles for Hope, but there was no way that she was going to let Theo’s boyfriend deter her, or let the fact that he was “a bit gay” stand in the way of her path to true love. Their blossoming friendship was innocently affectionate and helped along with the effects of a little weed; Theo soon began to wonder if he was better off with a woman.
The third angle in this isosceles triangle was the neurotic, nouveau riche Marion, played by Natalie Holmwood. In a surreal twist of supposed, real and imagined events, Marion’s journey saw her kill a cyclist, bury her car in the backyard, ignite a romance between strangers, seduce Jesus and finally bear the second coming of Christ.
As farfetched as it sounds on paper, it translated on stage as very entertaining. The blend of contemporary style, the inclusion of music and movement to heighten the drama and the committed delivery made this one of the better plays I have seen at the Fringe Festival thus far.
Hope is the saddest
Devised and directed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler
Venue: The Blue Room Theatre | 53 James Street, Northbridge, Perth
Dates: 7 – 10 Feb & 12 Feb, 2012