FRINGE – They Saw a Thylacine – Tuxedo Cat @ Raj House – 4.5K

Two women, two powerful stories set in 1930s Australia. We witness their passions, the battles they faced, the adventures they had and their personal experiences with the last remaining Tasmanian tigers.

The thylacine holds a special place in the communal Australian psyche. To most of us, it’s a mystical creature, already long gone by the time we came into existence, but still recent enough for us to feel its absence. We get a sense of the nature of these animals, and the circumstances that lead to their demise, through the stories of a tough female tracker (Sarah Hamilton) trying to catch one of the beasts, collect the financial reward and make her way to the mainland, and the daughter of the care-taker of Hobart zoo (Justine Campbell), fighting the male administration to protect their thylacine, Ben.

The first thing that hits you is the smell of the fruit being consumed by the two performers as they smile welcomingly at the audience from within their cage. It’s a sense that is not often utilised in theatre and it – along with the speckles of light from a half mirror ball and some jazzy tunes – does wonders to create an enticing and engrossing atmosphere. The writing is beautiful; it’s the best kind of storytelling there is, where it washes over you, draws you in and creates clear pictures in your mind. The tales themselves are engrossing – providing suspense, adventure and pathos. Both performers are confident and captivating in their roles and cannot be faulted with regards to the feeling, intonation or flow injected into the verses of the magnificent text. The blocking is simple and yet is all that is needed, as the focus of this show is very much on the words and the images they create.

The thylacine could be compared to that amazing Fringe show that you didn’t manage to get to and now everyone is talking about. As the disappointment builds inside that you’ll now never get to see it, a tiny part of you clings to the hope that it will come back for a return season. Don’t be left hoping after this Fringe is finished; get to the Tuxedo Cat and enjoy this great production now.

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

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