FRINGEWORLD: Fish in the Sea (4.5 stars)

Review by Brandon Taylor.

When one enters an improvised classroom-come-box theatre, sits down in a black plastic picnic chair and is greeted by three plain-clothes actors in their mid-20s on a stage they could fill simply by spreading their arms, one wouldn’t necessarily expect to be treated to an hour smartly packed with streamlined, lucid and genuinely hilarious theatre.  Well, with Fish in the Sea, the unexpected is exactly what one gets!

From laughably awkward double-dates spiked with cocaine and unbelievable douchebags, to ironically cheesy music numbers about love and fantasy card games, to brief introspections about the human condition, Fish in the Sea is one of a kind.  It also defines itself – the first production of Bastard Theatre – as delightful for its cheeky (often shocking) humour, confident acting and downright liquid stage play.

Essentially, the audience is whisked through the stages of a romantic plot in a ludicrous but occasionally earnest love-triangle between three eccentric youths.  The plot is simple: Humphrey meets and falls in love with Susanna, leans on his friend Emma while navigating a halting and self-conscious courtship with the apple of his eye, and gets the girl – only to realise it’s Emma he’s wanted all along.  What makes the act so much fun is the combination of wild characters, self-conscious observation and practiced execution.

The acting is well above average by Fringe standards: Jess Van Wyk (Susanna) has an excellent voice and great stage presence, Daniel Buckle (Humphrey) is hilariously neurotic as he drives the plot, and Nick Pages-Oliver (Emma, Susanna’s boyfriend Stanley, the Spirit of Reggae and two more parts) steals the show with his raunchy wit and absurdly frequent costume changes.

Put together, the comedy, farce and polished irrationality of Fish in the Sea are worth catching.

When: 23rd – 30th January (8:50pm)

Where: Hokkien House, Noodle Palace

Tickets: From $15

Info: Duration 60mins, suitable 15+