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Tidy Town of The Year.

Old Fitzroy Theatre until March 22

Review by Ron Lee

Put three emotionally disturbed people with small-town mentality in a situation in which they can express love, revenge and violence, and you have the potential for an interesting evening of theatre.

Pamela (Victoria Greiner) is a motel worker with a gambling addiction and little else happening in her life. She is obsessed with winning the prestigious "Tidy Town of The Year" title for Gandiddiyup, the only place in which she has ever lived. She considers the neighbouring town, Sippy Downs, to be her major competition. So focused is Pamela with winning the coveted award, she has written a song, complete with choreography.

Rover (Andy Leonard) is in his mid-twenties and he hasn't quite grown up. He's a compulsive drinker and serial formal complainer who is linguistically pedantic, even though he uses "were" instead of "was". He knows he's doing it, but can't help it.

Hope (Sarah Hodgetts) is from Sippy Downs, and has a curious connection with Pamela and Rover.

Why did she suddenly appear on the scene?

Why is she inseparable from her suitcases?

What is her real identity?

What is her connection with the "thing" in the bathroom?

There are many plot twists and surprises to keep the audience interested, and Greiner, Hodgetts and Leonard effectively project their unique characters, with Leonard particularly masterful at eyebrow acting.

There's something to be said in favour of a small cast co-writing the script as long as they respect each other and focus on the production as a whole, and that approach works in this case.

The pace picks up after the intermission and this production will tighten up with each performance.

I love to see young actors giving it a red-hot go, and the Old Fitzroy Theatre in Woolloomooloo is a perfect venue.

If you like alternative, off-Broadway style of theatre with a truly Australian feel, go and see "Tidy Town of The Year". On opening night, Greta Scacchi was in the audience, so you never know who you might see there.

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