When we consider what Fringe performances to see, the problem is which ones because, at a rough count, there are well over a thousand of them. Certainly we could read all there is distributed about the shows but that would take some doing and anyway what do you make of a show that says “it seeks to find and thank the people who transport us daily to friends, lovers, work at significant moments in our lives.” What?! Seek, find and thank the people who daily transport us? What sort of a leg-pull is this? Anyway, how could that make a play? There’s only one solution. Go see it.
So I did. It is at the friendly Holden Street Theatres at Hindmarsh in The Studio, one of the two performance spaces there and what did the capacity audience find on stage? A chair, an overflowing waste bin and a slim, attractive young woman sitting there ready to tell us a true story. That’s all. She didn’t move much – stood up a couple of times, changed her position on the chair often but generally just sat there and literally told us for an hour about some letters she wrote to the public transport system in the U.K. And we were enchanted.
A voice sang the first line of a song “Waiting for a train” and so we knew where we were, what she was doing and, without introduction and in the most informal way, Molly Taylor told us her story. It begins with grief and disbelief, the horrible shattering inside when love goes awry and there seems to be nothing right with the world, no sunshine, no understanding, no reason to keep going, just a long tunnel with no end. But then life begins to move again and this show is about how interlinked we are somehow, how this little event affects that train of action how coincidences change lives dramatically and lives touch each other to nudge us in this direction or that.
The tale is basically Molly’s but Margaret and Tam’s stories about how their lives change on public transport slip in there too and many a member of the audience were no doubt thinking, “me too” in the nicest way and Judy Garland’s trolley song sprang to my mind. But not many of us think to thank the drivers of the trains and buses we catch for being the unwitting means of significant moments. Molly did and the old familiar story of writing to government organisations like British Rail or Transport for London brought ripples of sympathetic laughter from the audience and from their end they must have been baffled by the requests to track down the drivers to say thank you from Molly Taylor.
It’s a story of persistence and determination but mostly it says that life is a journey, that many people often in thankless jobs help us along the way and we should thank them. I’m willing to bet that more people will be saying ‘thank you’ in person after seeing this gently satisfying show.
Molly Taylor presents
Love Letters to the Public Transport System
by Molly Taylor
Venue: Holden Street Theatres | 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh SA
Dates: 14 Feb – 01 March 2018
Tickets: $20 – $28
Bookings: 08 8225 8888 | holdenstreettheatres.com