Review by Susie Conte
A bare stage. 2 wooden chairs. A slight figure launches into a story, deep resonant voice confidently sets the scene. Daphne (Jo Morris) is on a long drive, heading back to where she came from, with all the emotional baggage that entails. She arrives back to her unnamed country town, and we see how hard it is for her to be there. She is uncomfortable, scared to face her past and her demons. What unfolds is a jagged love story and a reckoning. Who are we if we do not accept who we once were?
Morris is a consummate actress, allowing us into the world she is weaving with great charm. The show lives and dies with the central performance, and Morris is infinitely watchable and painfully raw. A small twitch of the lip, a lift of the eyebrow or a light quip, and we are charmed. It is exciting to see where this powerful performer will go. Morris is a petite woman with a rich voice full of loneliness. Old friends, a former life, a painful childhood, and facing up to the passage of time are all delved into to mine the pathos of a life lived with some regret.
The writing by Liz Newell is heartbreaking – what is the notion of “home” and can you ever go back? Are we always destined to return to the person we were when we were young? Can you ever run away from your past?
A new work from emerging theatre company Maiden Voyage Theatre Company whose stated purpose is to ‘champion gender parity in the theatre,’ this is a thought provoking piece, beautifully and quietly directed by Bridget Le May. It will be interesting to see how this show develops. There is something about the pacing that leaves us a little breathless; so many philosophical questions are brought up, it would be nice to have some pause to allow us to catch up. Minor cuts could be made to streamline the story, and a bigger budget could help the staging, but this is an impressive and well-rounded show from Maiden Voyage Theatre Company.
Alone Outside debuted at The Blue Room as part of Summer Nights and Fringe World 2017.
Producer & Writer: Liz Newell // Associate Producer: Katie McAllister // Director: Bridget Le May // Performer: Jo Morris // Lighting: Scott McArdle // Sound: Drew Krapljanov // Dramaturg: Hellie Turner // Directing Mentor: Jeffrey Jay Fowler // Stage Manager: Georgia Smith
Alone Outside was developed with support from Playwriting Australia.