Show type: Melbourne 2006
This show has not yet got a description.
Weíre trapped in a desolate, dilapidated roadhouse in the arse end of nowhere. Apocalyptic floods have cut off this insalubrious truckersí stop-off from anything like civilisation, but the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense owner Evelyn will get us through - if she can stay sober for long enough.
But this brash, rugged Aussie has more than the storm to contend with. Also stuck in this isolated hellhole is thrust the shrill Lily-Anne, a self-absorbed conservative Middle American whose religious fervour is matched only by her zeal for pyramid-selling overpriced and unnecessary cosmetic products. Itís obvious these two opposing women donít stray much from their national stereotypes Ė but in times of crisis, who will win out?
Thatís the set-up for Amelia Jane Hunterís claustrophobic one-woman comedy-drama, in which she alternates between the two characters with some clumsiness. Thereís surely only so many times people can find flimsy excuses to pop out back to avoid each other before it becomes farcical.
But her portrayal of the psychological combatants is faultless. Sheís a talented actress able to convincingly inhabit both roles with the minimum of physical clues to distinguish them. Her strong performance and ability to include the audience into the show ensures the drama is never less than watchable.
The writing, however, is not so strong, and the over-long script gets stuck in something of a rut once the tension is established, which isnít helped by the fact that the character s are essentially broad caricatures, no matter how well Hunterís strong performance fleshes them out.
There are laughs to be had, and they all emerge naturally from the womenís extreme personalities, as Lily-Anne gets over-precious, or Evelyn gets over-drunk. But the comedy is decidedly secondary to the drama, and when that runs out of steam the energy flags.
But as a showcase for Hunterís acting talents, Roadhouse is a triumph.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett