As confusing as the program for Press Play is, if you get there at the right moment and catch the short, sharp, solo-show, Six Dollar Solitude by Renee Gentle, it's probably worthwhile. I think the idea was that there'd be three short plays on. We only got one. But Gentle's endearing and enigmatic stage-presence eases the pain.
The premise of Six Dollar Solitude is perhaps overly simple. A young woman needing to 'find herself' decides to ride her bike from Adelaide to Alice Springs. This is certainly no quest to destroy the Ring, and there's no danger of getting lost in the narrative's twists or turns. There aren't many. But the play manages to explore the oft-explored realm of 'self-discovery' in a refeshingly unsentimental way.
Gentle's characterisations of some Aussie stereotypes are pretty spot on, and draw laughs repeatedly from the audience. The hyper-girly best friend, drunk on Breezers, is a winner, as is Maureen, or Doreen, or whatever the name of the outback pub owner is.
The staging is clever, effectively providing just what the audience and the script demands. While dimming the spotlight for each character change gets a little tedious, the tightness of the dialogue makes up for it.
A feel-good piece, and while it won't be shifting any techtonic plates, it's a nice breather from the sometimes overwritten and overwrought theatre at the Fringe.
2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival
Adelaide Duende Collective
Week One – Six Dollar Solitude by Renee Gentle
Week Two – German Diary and Truth Teller by Alan Grace
Directed by Dee Easton and Alan Grace
Venue: Bakehouse Theatre - Studio | 255 Angas St, Adelaide
Dates: March 5 – 17, 2012
Tickets: $18.00 – $10.00