Fringe Festival 2013
Affinity, written and directed by Sarah Delahunty, Downstage until February 25
Minksie and Ron Explore the Gap by Gina Vanessi, Circa Two until February 23
Two talky, dense plays: one gripping, the other plot-less and meandering.
Affinity is performed in a cramped space on the second floor of Downstage by the lift; Minksie and Ron is performed on a stage with a stylish (for the Fringe) set.
Affinity has no set and only three props: a laptop, the bust of Bruce Mason, and the lift.
Sarah Delahunty's youth theatre group 1st Gear Productions is a powerhouse of creative, exciting theatre and Affinity is yet another outstanding example of the marvellous work she has elicited from her student actors as well as her ability to write highly sophisticated and challenging plays.
''Welcome to Hotel California'' says the Doorkeeper to two women and a man who have found themselves apparently kidnapped and thrown into some futuristic cell with invisible walls.
In their fear and panic the three try to work out why they are there.
With the help of Ian's laptop which mysteriously allows him to get onto the internet they pick up clues: the Eagles' lyrics to Hotel California, Mason's The End of the Golden Weather and Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit.
They eventually discover how they are connected to each other and why and where they are.
I can't disclose the ending but if you know Sartre's play don't sit back smugly, as I did, thinking you know what it all leads to.
As with her play 2b or nt 2b?
Delahunty uses classic plays to make connections with the lives of 21st century youth.Alex Ker, Neenah Dekkers-Reihana, Robbie Nicol, and Sylvie McCreanor seemed totally unfazed by the fact that most of their audience (limited to 20 people) is just centimetres away.
They give amazingly mature, totally convincing performances and all four deserve to win a Fringe performance award.
Minksie and Ron has simplistic dialogue about complex subjects (God, love, spirituality etc) performed by two adults dressed as children and they ''argue how the stuff of stuff-ness works'' and despite the charm exuded by Gina Vanessi and Gavin Rutherford, who also appear in video sequences as other characters, the discussions fail to either engage or enlighten.
Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson
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