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Image: May Jasper

Review by Amanda Lancaster

Meet Stephanie. Stephanie works in a call centre,  her friends call her Steph. Steph has a story, it’s not a very good story. It may well be that the story isn’t very nice but it is in fact a very, very good story – at least a story that needs o be told.

Over a period of twelve years beginning in the mid-90s, at least eighteen women working at the ABC studios in Toowong, western Brisbane, were diagnosed with breast cancer. The million-to-one odds of such a grouping occurring naturally led to the building being declared unsafe – and subsequently demolished – nearly eleven years ago. The time prior to the demolition serves as the dark inspiration for the equally dark-humoured one woman show.

The character of Stephanie is played with such beautiful authenticity it breaks your heart watching her story unfold. Socially awkward, quiet and unobtrusive to. Start her sweet hesitant nervousness captivates you almost instantly. Beautifully curated  flow to the entire piece’s delivery and tempo , not to mention the clever choice of a minimalistic stage setting make for an audience’s unwavering focus thoroughout.

Accounts of the real-life employees’ shock at losing their workplace and friends inspire Stephanie’s nuances, which we can see in the extent to which her work and social groups  seem  to overlap. Her work and friends are her whole universe,  particularly her attentions for the office cleaner, Jen her crush. Imagine the indescribable terror of that being taken away, agonisingly slowly as everyone begins falling prey to an indeterminable, inexplicable cancerous monster.

It’s hard not to empathise and relate to our story teller, and the more we do so the more that little feeling of unease that starts in the pit of your stomach soon becomes a looming gripping  dread. The mystery behind why so many became so sick so quickly in the same place forms the dark catalyst behind the nevertheless surprisingly sweet narrative.

No it’s not a very good story, but it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and poignantly told tragedies you are ever likely to experience.

 

When: 31st January – 4th February 2017 | 6:00pm

Where: The Blue Room Theatre | Fringe Central | PERTH

Tickets: $21 – $26

Info: Duration 60 minutes | Suitable 15+

Link: https://www.fringeworld.com.au/whats_on/event/not_a_very_good_story/37087382-090c-4c62-8ee5-4cf7cfecaebd/