19 April 2012

MICF review: ... Plus One

MICF 2012
... Plus One
Mike McLeish and Fiona Harris
7 April 2012
Trades Hall
to 22 April

... Plus One had me at Hootie & The Blowfish and a navy-blue sleeveless floral wrap top with a subtle frill. Hilariously nostalgic and as zeitgeist capturing as a Facebook Instagram album of mock-polaroids of zeitgeists, its interwoven story of old uni friends in their late 30s, original music and terrific performances makes it like The Big Chill for our generation, but much funnier – and no one lost their junk at war.

Fiona Harris (Skithouse, The Librarians, The Circle etc) and Mike McLeish (Keating, Shane Warne: the Musical etc) play six friends who met at uni in the 90s. This was a time when university still meant being in a nearly-popular band, share houses, unrequited love, plenty of sex, and drinking 'til you spewed.

Fast forward to now. There's a mummy blog, rewarding husbands with TV box sets, smart phone addiction, unrequited love, occasional sex, and vegan or goats cheese hors d'oeuvres at an installation opening. And as one friend wants to celebrate their bonds in art and a song (which deserves its own category at the ARIAs), others wonder if there's anything left to drink to.

As Harris and McLeish (yes, the are real-life spouses) morph between characters, it's easy to forget that there can't be a scene with all six, but smart complex writing and tight direction (Kate McLennan) ensure that there's no disappointment. Melding the observation of stand up, the speed-joke of sketch and the satisfying arc of story, each character is instantly recognisable and if there isn't one who's a bit too close for comfort, you'll recognise your parents or your adult children.

 ... Plus One is a brilliant excuse to get together with some of your old friends, especially if you've only seen them on Facebook in the last few years. It left me snorting-out-loud and looking forward to the next round of nostalgia fashion: 90s floral.

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