The Big Bite-Size Soirée (Menu 2)
White Room Theatre @ Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage
6:00pm, Fri 9 Mar 2012
A regular Fringe Friend consistently raved about The Big Bite-Size Soirée – the show was already on my Shortlist, but it was only after talking to her that I learnt that there were three different sets (or menus) of ten-minute plays. With that in mind, I realised that my OCD would probably force me to see all three menus; I figured I’d better get started early.
Turning up for Menu 2, I spent an interesting five minutes chatting with the director of all fifteen pieces, Nick Brice. Though he was noticeably guarded – fair enough, given the fact that some fat redhead has started firing twenty questions at you – it’s always interesting talking to overseas artists who’ve decided to chance their arm in little ol’ Adelaide. Into the theatre, and there’s only twenty people (tops) in the audience for this series of five short plays.
Uncomfortable Silences kicks things off, and it’s immediately recognisable – it’s me and one of my friends. Unrequited Love, Just Good Friends. It hits maybe a little too close to home to be enjoyable, but I can see the quality in the piece. Vintage follows, a charming – and funny – tale showing a modern couple who decide to live their lives as if they were in the 1940s. Clever, and well done. All Hail is a relatively straightforward pisstake of Macbeth – entertaining enough, but not exemplary.
Transactions is probably the pick of this Menu, featuring a chap who pays a prostitute for a “real” relationship, with an inadvertent – and uncomfortable – “I love you” admission well before his time is up. Scott McAteer’s dialogue is fantastic: “Ten minutes – is that all you can afford?” she asks. “I’m saving,” comes the bittersweet reply.
Finally, The Key to the Mystic Halls of Time is an awkward piece revolving around two World of Warcraft players; the elder bloke was obsessive, the younger far more balanced. I’m not sure what the intent of this piece was supposed to be, but it felt like I was being lectured that oldies were being told not to play games… and, if that’s the case, writer Matt Cassarino can fuck right off (I’m a proud, old gamer).
Throughout all five pieces, the White Room cast – Alice Robinson, Andy Hutchison, Lisa Beresford, and Sean Williams (who looks scarily like Rob Sitch) were exemplary. Usually operating in pairs, they manage to create believable characters onstage, which must be tough given the fifteen(!) bite-sized plays they’re performing over the Fringe. And, whilst some plays are more successful than others (Key to the Mystic Halls really rubbed me the wrong way), Menu 2 was strong enough overall that I don’t regret my compulsion to see the other Menus too.