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Finding the River - A Fringe Review

Phoenix Theatre
March 21-25th, 8pm

Finding the River is the fairytale farce of Lily and Rose, two women attempting to liberate the worlds water supply from the tyrannical control of an evil male Earth. For a more detailed explanation than that, you'd have to ask the actors themselves, however Finding the River is still a tour de force of hilarious role plays and set pieces.

Negotiating hitmen, hazards and enchanted forests Lily and Rose are on the run, desperately trying to outwit giants, magic gateways and avoid the clutches of their pursuers. As they move ever closer to the source of the rivers flow the dangers increase and they find themselves precariously balanced between fate and fortune.

Two Australian actresses move from role to role with ease (often in the same scene) creating not just characters but also environments and never letting the pace drop.

By the far the most entertaining characters are Simon, the Earth's chosen henchman sent to knock off Lily and Rose, and his gormless servant Samuel.

Somewhat reminiscent of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Simon is the classic comedy fool drunk with power, and Samuel is his adoring but intellectually challenged slave. Pursuing Lily and Rose, their dialogue is funny, lightning quick and full of hilarious vanity from Simon. Meanwhile, Samuel's endless stupidity - (reading the back of the map!?!) is a great foil to his masters delusions of grandeur.

What this play lacks is a broadly human motif. While it's performances and characters are brilliant, it's tantalising to imagine that with a little more work Finding the River could really be a great play, to be performed by other generations of actors. At present the premise of the play seems like an excuse for the characterisations of the actresses.

Having said that, it's also easy to see how this was pick of the Melbourne fringe. With its mix of humour and energy Finding the River is a wonderfully free-spirited performance full of wit and imagination, and bound to be a highlight of this years festival - check it out.

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