Bakehouse Theatre – Studio, Mon 29 Feb
If you’ve ever kept a diary you may well be sitting on the script of a biographical play. All you need to do is edit out the boring bits and flesh out the narrative with a few props, and maybe a few songs, and hey presto you have your show. It’s not that simple of course but that is essentially what Andi Snelling has done. She has kept a diary for the last 24 years.
Clown-like, Andi emerges from a metaphorical womb and learns to walk. And talk. And then write. She initially shares the naïve and innocent observations of a young girl, but as the years pass her spoken observations, taken verbatim from her diary, become more reflective and adult. Except things like the list of presents received on her 13th birthday – which had women in the audience of the same age laughing hilariously. If you were born around 1983, and especially if you’re female, you are probably going to find a lot to identify with here.
But listening to this text from the past – authentic text which is in fact the script of Andi’s internal dialogue about her life as it was happening – is a fascinating experience. Kind of like reality television in retrospect but much richer because Andi has to try and rediscover that child, that teenager, that young adult and recover the feelings that prompted the diary entries. Quite a complex and demanding process I imagine and the result is surprisingly engaging.
It’s all helped along by a fine acting and singing performance – Andi is an accomplished singer – by a talented and warm performer. The symbolic scattering of suitcases around the stage reminds us that we all come with our own baggage, and Andi’s baggage includes some depressing and violent episodes.
She brings us all up to the present moment when her diary entry for today acknowledges our own pasts, and connects us with hers, in a very special ending.
#DearDiary continues at Bakehouse Theatre – Studio from 7.30 pm until Sat 5 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.