Review: That Moment
Image: Blueleaf Theatre Company
How far would you go to achieve your dream?
This farcical comedy centers around struggling actress Alicia Harding.
Alicia regales us with how one audition led her to be landed with the director's nightmare of a dog, Titus, who not only causes trouble in her personal life but delights in using the living room carpet as his personal toilet.
As Alicia finds her way into the director's email account, she takes matters into her own hands.
Will her gutsy attitude serve her well or ruin her career forever?
A fast paced, witty, one-woman show.
This show gives us a glimpse into the trials of a struggling young actress trying to negotiate her way through the transactional minefields of dealing with agents, going to auditions and generally trying to survive in what can be a somewhat brutal industry.
A one-woman show, 'That Moment' features Madeleine Gray as actress Alicia Harding.
Well, it might be more appropriate to describe the production as a 'one woman and an invisible dog show' because a dog called Titus (named after Shakespeare's bloody play Titus Andronicus) is a central character in the piece too, though we never actually see this troublesome canine.
The connection between Alicia and Titus is that the human in this partnership is asked by a director to dog-sit - in fact, the task is a kind of consolation prize after Alicia fails to get a part she auditioned for.
Following her posh-voiced agent's advice, she decides to "go with an open mind" and tackle the dog-sitting duties - after all, you never know when a connection with a director might come in handy.
But, as you might expect in this kind of set-up, everything is not exactly plain sailing - the dog fouls the air at regular intervals, pees on the floor and is eventually diagnosed with diabetes requiring Alicia to administer insulin.
And that's not all ... while at the director's home, Alicia decides to do a spot of self-promotion by emailing the director's theatrical contacts, impersonating the director and using his email address.
'That Moment' is basically a monologue with Madeleine Gray telling Alicia's story and providing us with all the other characters we get introduced to.
So, Ms Gray hops around from one persona to another adopting various accents, personalities and mannerisms.
She accomplishes this with commendable fluency, agility and considerable energy whilst ably holding the audience's attention with an endearing ease that's hard not to be drawn-in by.
As Alicia, Ms Gray presents us with a winning and charming young woman who is certainly no innocent, but still seems to struggle with the complex politesse of how things operate in the acting business, and some of her decisions get her into hot water.
Overall though, Ms Gray's natural and winsome characterisation results in us coming to sympathise and like her character more and more as events unfold.
Dougie Blaxland's well-written script ably builds in terms of comedy over the course of the proceedings, and the plot is well-structured and believable.
The storyline and comedy head towards a natural crescendo, especially when Alicia is talking about the real meaning of the phrase "what have you been up to?", and a little later when the term "his erect penis" is misinterpreted as the title of a play.
At that point, Ms Gray has to perform quick-fire exchanges between 6 or so different characters, and there were some laugh-out-loud moments which seemed to be appreciated by other members of the audience too.
The humour, though, is a little bland in the first half of the show, and even in the later sections of the play where the comedy is more pronounced, I couldn't help feeling that there was a lot more humour to milk from the scenarios.
Engagingly acted and briskly directed by Marcus Marsh, there seems to be some more work to do on the script to make this a really funny comedy - but still quite good fun as it stands, though.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Etcetera Theatre
Our show listing for That Moment
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