The concept of This is Living is tricky to describe without coming across as a story of the supernatural. Gavin Roach has successfully created a haunting atmosphere where the timeline jumps between and communication between living and dead. Throughout the piece, the story feels both organic and linear for the audience.
Actor Rebekah Carton plays Alice, who we see at various time points in her life (and afterlife). Carton is charismatic and bold in her personification of her character - who we come to resonate with and resent as each layer of her character is revealed.
Taking a moment to settle into the character of Michael, Damian Okulic establishes a relationship between Alice and Michael that rips and tugs at the heartstrings. Under the direction of Roach, both actors have developed well-rounded and intricate characters.
The technical elements by Sam Porter (sound) and Isabella 'Iz' Zettl (lighting) perfectly encapsulate the time jumps, highlighting them without pulling focus from the actors or taking us out of the world of the play. This limbo time between Earth and beyond is spent sharing memories of time before the present day and building chemistry and dynamics between the two characters. The show is relatable and it is easy to identify one’s self within the story.
Stripping the Meat Market theatre down to its basics, the setting is a black box theatre with a park bench., ‘This Is Living’ embodies what Melbourne’s Fringe festival is all about, delivering bold, daring and rich stories.
It would be easy to get lost in Liam Borrett’s densely layered narrative, but Roach centres and grounds the story in the simplicity and complications of the human condition. This is Living is an excellent show supported by a fantastic creative team and led by two strong actors. A must-see for this Fringe season.
This is Living is playing at Meat Market as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival until October 21st. Tickets and further information can be found here.