Verbatim – Melbourne Fringe Festival

Verbatim is a one woman show which deals with how one man’s violent actions can affect him and others around him.

Presented by: INH Productions, as part of the Melbourne Fringe FestivalVenue: Bella Union @ Trades Hall, Old Council Chambers, Melbourne, Victoria

Saturday 24 September, 2011
VerbatimVerbatim is a one woman show which deals with how one man’s violent actions can affect him and others around him. It states in the program that “Every word in Verbatim comes directly from the transcripts of over 30 interviews with convicted murderers, their families and the families of the murdered victims.” On the surface, this seems to be not a play for the faint-hearted. I decided that I would settle in and get ready for some confronting theatre.
Unfortunately, it never came.
First of all, let me applaud Aynslie Watson for taking on such an intense topic and challenging play. She resonates well with most of her characters, particularly that of Aaron and his sister, and there are moments of good comic timing and real pathos. I would have liked to have seen greater distinction between the minor characters, perhaps with some more diosyncrasies. 
The problem with Verbatim is very much with the staging. In order for Ms Watson to change from character to character, the director (Colin Rochford) has opted for blackouts. This leads to a very disjointed and static presentation. There are “scenes” where barely two lines are delivered before another blackout leads to a change in character.  There are some sound cues which attempt to bind the scenes together, but these are too few, and the blackouts too many. Because of this, it is difficult for the audience to really embrace the action on stage, and as much as Anyslie Watson wants to audience to feel the heart of what she is portraying, the lines come across only as words.  
Perhaps if it were a two-hander; one person playing the lead of Aaron and another playing the other five roles. If the scripting didn’t rely on so many very short scenes, or if more sound effects or music cues were used. If we saw the change between characters more vividly than simply relying on the blackouts… But, to quote the show; “If is such a big word”. 
Until 8th of October, 2011Booking Information03 9660 9666, 

Drew Lane

Andrew “Drew” Lane was born in Melbourne, and began playing piano at the age of four. At age 15, he began to write his own material, and was also introduced to musical theatre via shows such as Starlight Express, Les Miserables and Time. From that moment on, Drew was actively involved in musical theatre at a rehearsal pianist, musical director, or on stage performer. In 1992, Drew composed his first musical for high school, Back Streets, and in 1994, Drew was accepted into the Ballarat Academy of Performing Arts, where he honed his skills, not only as a composer, but also as a performer. Gaining valuable experience on stage and behind the scenes helped him to realise his next musical, Atlantis. A workshop production was staged for the Ballarat Opera Festival in 1996 and gained rave reviews. In the following years, Drew took up teaching but was also able to regularly composer and stage his own productions including Eva’s Wish (1997, Anacortes, WA, USA), Revelations (1998, Touring, Victoria, Australia), and Toys (1999, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia). In 2010, Drew's musical Marking Life was chosen to be part of the Festival of Broadway, hosted by the University of Tasmania, and was performed for Steven Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin). A prolific composer, Drew hopes to be able to take his musicals to Off-Broadway or the West End, and believes that his best writing is yet to come. He is presently completing his Master’s degree in Performing Arts, and has several new musicals presently in development. Drew is proud to be a regular contributor to and looks forward to hearing from all of his readers!

Drew Lane

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