By Zachary Sheridan
Originally performed at the 2016 Melbourne Fringe, this development of Tremayne Gordon’s Player 2, presented by Backyard Theatre Collective & Your Mouth Collective, is an intimate experience with a lot of heart.
Set in a group grief counselling session under the guidance of John Stevenson (Mitchell Whelan), the audience is first asked to write down their greatest fear (mine being giant spiders), before falling into the world of the story’s protagonist, Travis (played by Gordon himself).
Travis is reeling from the loss of his twin sister, Philippa (Caitlin Hill), and, instead of addressing his pain, we instead find that his world is primarily imaginative and filled with paper maché.
Directed by Kristen Maloney,Player 2 is packed with little nuggets of treasure, with standout moments arising from the audience play. We are forced to talk to one another (in a good way), we are invited to share eye-contact with a complete stranger, and we are asked questions that prove loss of a loved one is universal.
Audience participation aside, Player 2’s form is engaging, the use of props and chalk is fun, and the puppetry work is delicate, subtle, and yet still significant.
It’s sweet stuff with an important message, and it also encompasses one of my favourite facets of Fringe – young artists grappling with big issues in new and exciting ways.
The Moon // Remaining Performances: 29 Jan @ 4PM, 7PM