25 September 2010

Guest Reviewer: The Spaces Between

MELBOURNE FRINGE 2010
The Spaces Between
The Jane Austen Argument
22 September 2010
The Butterfly Club
to 25 September

Review By Karla Dondio


What exists in the spaces without love?
An unshakeable self-love.

For someone who recently had their heart broken, I felt like this show was written and performed just for me. The Spaces Between is a poignant and droll lamentation of what love doesn’t deliver measured by the void left behind as well as a celebration of the spaces in between where we find ourselves.

This could easily have been a show pontificating on spatial relativism as a metaphor for love and loss. But this was never going to be the case in the consummate hands of the Jane Austen Argument aka Jen Kingwell and Tom Dickens. As if their name doesn’t suggest an able handling of the context from the outset.

The Spaces Between is a stunning piece of cabaret/theatre. It’s clever, candid and heartfelt punctuated by many fine comedic moments. If only every writer/performer understood that you have to risk telling the bare bones of truth to really move an audience. This show does not shy away from humiliating moments nor does it dip its toes into the sentimental. It was never trying to be clever for the sake of being clever. It’s simply well written and proficiently performed, which demonstrates a depth of character you don’t often see in cabaret.

Both performers have bucket-loads of talent. Dickens has a voice that wavers between simulating the feeling of a lover’s hand running down your spine and, all too suddenly, the feeling when this is lost. I’m not ashamed to say this performer brought a few tears to my eyes.

Kingwell is no slacker either; she’s an accomplished pianist/songwriter and, when singing in her range, has a beautiful voice in her own right. This duo work so well together, at times they’re almost mirror images of each other in a light and shade kind of way. Albeit the banter between the two seemed slightly staged at times, all is forgiven because it’s their first show of the fringe season.

If there’s one show you have to see this fringe season it’s this one. The Spaces Between is the most exquisite cabaret you’ll ever see, and by far the cheapest therapy session you’ll ever have to pay for.




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