My One and Only
Acorn Productions @ Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage
6:00pm, Fri 15 Mar 2013
Back into the Bakehouse (for the final time this Fringe) for a play that promised to tackle issues of intimacy and stalking, there was a fair old crowd in attendance; there’s a bit of word-of-mouth about My One and Only, and the AUSLAN interpreter seemed to have brought in a few people, too.
Layla (convincingly played by Tamara Bennetts) has ended her relationship with Ben, and starts dating Noah… she soon discovers that she still has obsessive feelings for Ben, and Noah becomes obsessed with her. So begins a bizarre stalker-triangle which – over the course of the play – throws forth plenty of twists, constantly prompting the audience to consider who to side with.
I loved the fact that no-one in My One and Only is whiter-than-white; everyone has flaws, with the play carefully controlling the extent to which these are played up… one moment you’re feeling pity for Noah, and the next you’re hating him. The other curious note around this performance was the fact that it featured an AUSLAN interpretation – I usually try to attend these where available, since the interpretation adds another little element of fascination to the mix for me. In this instance, though, some of the aurally challenged members of the audience didn’t really take into account the noise created by their actions, leading to a couple of incidents where there were audience members blowing their noses loudly (and I mean loudly) during a quiet, tense monologue… which kinda killed the atmosphere somewhat.
But the main problem with My One and Only is that it feels very unevenly paced; a lengthy and emotive soliloquy sets expectations early, but then there’s a couple of rapid-fire scenes before another thoughtful time dilation. The shifts never really allow the play to develop any real momentum, and – as a result – the denouement feels almost perfunctory… and certainly anti-climactic.
And that’s a massive shame, because the ideas in the show – and the manner in which the story is built up – are pretty clever… it’s just that the direction lets it down somewhat. It’d certainly be interesting to see a more balanced production of this play.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 15, 2013