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GRIT: The Stories. The Town . The Music Review
By Dr Jo Loth, Director of Drama, The National Theatre Melbourne
This is a show that invites the audience in, and lets us take our time to get to know each character. The songs cover a range of styles including blues, jazz and folk. Three stand out songs are “My boy”, “When I close my eyes” (with sublime three part harmonies) and the humorous “It is as it is”.
The show is characterised by a gentle humour, focus on ensemble and a sense of ‘taking time’. Dr Sharon Hogan’s direction skillfully paces the action, with incredibly moving use of simple props and movement sequences. It’s elegant simplicity in action that prioritises the performer-audience connection.
Fletcher is a born storyteller who shapeshifts with ease between characters. It is especially beautiful to see a young actor easily move between ages and genders, with a sense of empathy and humanity rather than caricature.
The structure of the show and choices made in its creation lead to a striking new work that is accessible and empathy evoking. The choice to have one actor playing six roles highlights the shared humanity of all of the characters, and also clarifies that these six characters are aspects of a community rather than ‘verbatim’ representations. The guitar accompaniment is skillful and the three person chorus allow for a range of musical styles to be covered and three part harmonies create a rich soundscape for the unfolding action. The direct address of monologues and song leads to a feeling of connection with each character and moment.
This is an impressive debut from a new regional company.