Greg Fleet: This is not a Love song

Greg Fleet Adelaide Fringe 2019Ignition Entertainment. GC Underground - Dom Polski Centre. 1 Mar 2019

 

The many-faceted Greg Fleet is back in town, this time bringing life to the GC Underground, which is definitely not the easiest venue on the Fringe. Gluttony and The Garden may have the roaring Superloopers but the GC at the Dom Polski Centre has boom-doof-clanks from elsewhere in the venue. That Fleet and his cast work clearly and good-naturedly with this interference speaks only of their professionalism. One of the cast, Jasmine Fairbairn, makes a gag of it. “What noisy neighbours you’ve got,” she cracks to Clayton Storey who is playing the young Greg Fleet.

But nothing can take away from this charming piece of extremely intimate theatre. 

 

This is not a Love Song is “memory theatre” in its most literal form. It is the living memory of the live actor performed around and with him onstage. It is the haunting of Fleet’s mind for the things he did and didn’t do when he was younger, the way he mismanaged what should have been a beautiful relationship. It is about youthful perversity and self-indulgence, immaturity and stubbornness and about how one rashly emotional moment may change one’s destiny. It is also about songs and the way they may speak for us all. 

In this strange little underground theatre, the play is set on a dais stage with a sofa-bed, a desk and chair, some boxes of vinyls and an empty spirits bottle. Therein, Fleet explains his tale of personal yore and, from time to time, attempts to edit it to mute some of the more painful moments. Embodying his remembrances are Clayton Storey and Canadian actress Jasmine Fairbairn. They play it with such naturalism that, at first, one thinks it is all a bit under-rehearsed. But it is more about the mottled nature of memory and, at times, the prosaic content of relationship-building. Fleet sits at the desk taking notes as they enact his past. He prowls their perimeter and sometimes hunches over the back of the couch where they are sitting. He offers commentary. He suffers pangs of regrets, so immediate they are visceral. It seems he is making old wounds bleed. 

 

And yet, it is not a rare story. It’s a universality thing; immature male screws up his life. Mature female has her life screwed up by immature male.

It is all in the writing and the staging. It is really a lovely little theatre work.

 

And, not identified at the time or in the promo material, is a wonderful silver-haired old rocker on guitar. He gives another important layer to this show playing beautifully and also, at times, singing the chart of songs which trace the window of memory Fleet has opened to his audience.  Everyone sings, not always very well. Everyone is very croaky on the first night, due to a shared throat virus. Fleet says he hopes it will pass quickly for the rest of the season. Hear hear.

But it is not enough to undermine this intelligent little Fringe gem.

 

Samela Harris

4 Stars

 

When: 1 to 10 Mar

Where: Grand Central Underground - Dom Polski Centre

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

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