Alone Outside marks Lab Kelpie’s triumphant return to Melbourne Fringe. Their reputation for producing stories that stick has spread, as evident by their sold out opening night.
Sometimes home isn’t safe or comfortable. Sometimes you’re running from it because it’s where the real you lives. Sometimes the longing for becoming authentically you wins out over your hatred of the tantalisingly familiar.
Alone Outside is unexpectedly heartbreaking and explores our deepest desire of being fully known and loved. Liz Newell’s writing flows with a deep awareness of our combined experience as humans and our need to feel connected.
As you enter Studio 2, you’re met by the songs you might hear over your car radio on long road trips. The sound mix instantly puts you back to those moments: crappy road, high speed, whatever’s on the radio.
On stage, Daphne is accompanied by a large, old tyre. As she interacts with it, you realise its weight – of her past and her secrets. Despite the minimal and reflective set, the lighting and sound effects combine with her movement and words to transport us to Daphne’s world.
Daphne ran away from what she calls home and who she really is. In Alone Outside, she confronts the discomfort of her old life and the anger she feels for her current complacency. Out of familial obligation, she returns to that home in the middle of nowhere where no one leaves, only to face uncomfortable truths. Unwanted reunions lead Daphne to reveal a twist you won’t expect.
Sharon Davis as Daphne is deft in her performance, shifting expertly from inner monologue to narration of the events of visiting home. Her words reflect the confusion we all feel floating through life trying our best. Davis carries the audience through the events of Daphne’s life. She captures our hearts before we have a chance to realise, only to suddenly feel her heart break as if it were your own.
Lab Kelpie presents new Australian story-telling at its best. They’re stories we can all relate to in some way and are always executed perfectly and of the highest quality. This is a dedicated independent production company continuously delivering stories that they’re passionate about, and it shows.
Go see Alone Outside, or at the very least, look up at the stars every once in a while.
Alone Outside is on at Melbourne Fringe until 29 September at North Melbourne Town Hall.
Image: Theresa Harrison