*** STARS

By George Dixon

During this year, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, like so many arms of live entertainment, has adapted to continue through the use of Digital Visual Performances, be it Zoom, YouTube or other means. The advantages are evident as you sit at home and take a front-row seat, with the advantage of “on-demand” viewing.

Written and performed by the accredited poet laureate Telia Nevile, Little Monster is a perfect production for this medium.

 Nevile is never shy in offering performances which make us think or reflect about things that others consider dark. Little Monster is no exception. This power-packed one hour performance highlights the poetic skills and wordsmith talents of Nevile, who transforms this work into a masterpiece few could emulate.

The introduction and style of delivery are very enticing; you are invited to “settle in”, relax, even close your eyes. With a smile and a gleam in her eyes, the wordsmith settles down on the couch and begins in a bedtime story to unfold little Monster’s reflective mastery.

The phraseology is precise, simple. Its structure is familiar as if you’re hearing sentences from a Dr Seuss bedtime story. This cleverly designed and executed construct allows for the sprinkling of dry humour as the subject matter of “Housemates” unfolds.

At first, you accept each housemate at face value according to their name. You recognise the impact they have on the dynamics and atmosphere of the house along with the house owner. With the introduction of additional housemates, we witness an increase in the complexity and dynamics, As each chapter continues, you become drawn further along the journey that seems quite familiar.

At some stage, you may realise that the housemates are a metaphor, but its ok, the storyteller does not leave you there. You emotions are safe.

The spotlight of reflection continues within the journey that reaches a satisfying conclusion.

Experiencing this production highlights the amazing skill and poetic talent that makes Telia Nevile such an outstanding performer.

As a production, Little Monster provides a minimalist approach. Its simple lounge-room setting, a couch, some cushions, nothing distracting. Great lighting and sound.

I appreciated the introduction of each housemate. The use of children’s plastic magnetic lettering on the fridge door worked well as a clear separation similar to chapters of a book.

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