The stage is set with a “window frame”, a colour-coded “safety wheel” and an “uber machine” – all of which are brought to life with the appearance of Tilly Scott, facilitator of the Overside Community Centre’s new Mothers’ Club for Inner Children.
Tilly (performer Lana Schwarcz) welcomes new members Rachel, Jason, Marguerite and their respective “inner children” to the group. Each character has their own struggle with their inner child and responds well to the invitation to connect inward through the wonders of the unique uber machine.
What unfolds is courageous, crazy and cleverly presented by Schwarcz.
This ambitious one-woman show defies convention and has Schwarcz not only morphing from one character to another, but from one puppet to the next, while managing stage props and devices throughout the entire show.
In lesser hands, this production could have fallen short, and the technical crew also deserve applause and recognition, for this is a complex and fast-moving show that keeps everyone on their toes.
Small Talk delivers a stage full of fun, fact and fantasy, and is a brilliant forum to showcase Schwarcz’s strength and diversity. While it offers plenty of laughs, its credibility comes from its well-observed and researched storyline, suggesting life is made richer simply by having a relationship with our inner child. That notion is supported by a line from Jason: “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
If you have not visited your inner child lately, then this show may change that. It’s also an opportunity to support a brave new work by a talented artist who is a former winner of the Best Puppetry award at the Adelaide Fringe.
Small Talk is at the Bakehouse Theatre until March 15.
© Patricia Herreen 2014