FRINGEWORLD 2017 – Helen Duff: When The Going Gets Duff (4 stars)

Review by Laura Money

Helen Duff returns to Perth in a show about…nothing. Duff hasn’t got a plan and that’s ok – each show is different. She proclaims at the beginning that there will be loose threads and proceeds to give the audience ideas to come back to later. She claims to have difficulty finishing sentences without becoming distracted by other thoughts. This is an exercise in free writing, improvisation and true jesting, hilariously presented in an electric blue jumpsuit!

It’s not as on-the-fly as it sounds, don’t get me wrong, Duff admits that there is no planned structure to the show, but she is such a great performer that the audience hang on every word. Duff creates ‘spaces’ onstage for her thoughts – one space for the voice of truth, one for the exhibitionist, one for the purely visceral – in a physical manifestation of her brain-space. She paces manically between these spaces, often interrupting herself, before moving to the next point.

This is pure artistry. A show like this could very easily put the audience offside, yet Duff’s gentle inclusivity and friendly, mild audience interaction encourage a whole room conversation. It’s obvious that she’s in control, it just feels like hanging out with that one goofy mate who always keeps you entertained. Duff takes the thoughts and feelings we all have and brings them to the fore. She cuts open her head and spills her brain out for all to see – and we happily help her scoop in all back in again.


When: 27th January – 2nd February 2017 | 8pm

4th February 2017                             | 9:00pm

Where: Perth Town Hall | Cathedral Square | PERTH

HUBBUB at MANPAC | Mandurah

Tickets: $19 – $23

Info: Duration 60 minutes | Suitable 15+