When Summer Nights get dark; this is FRINGE WORLD’S haunting hour.
Independent theatre company sandpaperplane return to Fringe for the Summer Nights program, at The Blue Room Theatre, with an intense original work about a fraudulent psychic whose live radio show is haunted by the presence of a childhood friend.
Once Australia’s most famous TV medium, Margie Hillspeck has faded away to the graveyard shift at a local radio station. Lying isn’t an issue, as long as she keeps ratings up… why, it might even help people move on.
Set in the control booth of a radio station it quickly becomes apparent that things aren’t great for Margie. She used to give people hope, now she’s scraping the bottom of the barrel and questioning her motives going forward. One night memories start knocking. Margie might be closer to the dead than she thinks, and they have her number.
This is Second Chance Farewells! Thanks for calling.
Developed with Australian Theatre for Young People and Barking Gecko, Talkback is the debut play from playwright-to-watch Hannah Cockroft with local Theatre maker Elise Wilson (Floor Thirteen, The Wolves) directing. For the record, Floor Thirteen was one of my favourite productions last year, so even though I’m only doing a handful of Fringe shows this year, this particular show was always going to make my list.
Performed by Monica Main (REST, Lockie Leonard, Ship to Shore) and Mararo Wangai (Improvement Club, The Advisors), Talkback is verging on the film cross-genre I most like at the moment, comedy thriller. No matter what platform, but especially theatre, it’s a hard genre to pull off.
The local references in the on-air sponsored posts just add to the devil in the detail factor for this production and provide that light humour in amongst the chilling chaos that’s unfolding right in front of you. While there is a comical element to the show, for the most part, this is a stand-out drama. For me, it’s a compelling piece that grips you from the get-go but stops a little short of being a full-on thriller that would have you on the edge of your seat looking for the nearest exit.
I believe opening night nerves saw a couple of lines fudged along the way but ultimately both Main and Wangai gave exceptional and believable performances. The ending could have gone a few different ways and wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I’m still debating if this is a good or a bad thing. I’d love to divulge more but… spoilers.
I can easily see this show returning for a bigger run on a much bigger stage, possibly with a more chilling ending but I wouldn’t wait. With only a short run at The Blue Room Theatre, GO grab tickets while you still can.
The Blue Room Theatre
now showing until February 1
Tickets available HERE
Just a quick note… it’s me not you! I’m currently in and out of hospital and only taking on a handful of short and sweet Fringe reviews this year. Please keep the review requests coming, I will jump on board if I’m able!