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Fringe Benefits
Worlds End
The Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide, Australia
15 - 30 May 2009

I love the Bakehouse Theatre. Especially in winter. It’s cosy and unpretentious - the perfect setting for Accidental Productions’ latest offering, Worlds End, an inspired study of contemporary relationships by talented Next Gen Brit playwright Paul Sellar.

Set in the London apartment of twenty somethings Kat and Ben, the seventy minute play charts the day Kat (Jessica Barnden) moves out. She and Ben (Mark Fantasia) have broken up and Kat has enlisted her best friend Thea (Alice Darling) and new beau Josh (Matthew Crook) to help her finally move everything out. She arrives though, to find Ben at home - brooding, uncooperative and struggling to come to terms with the demise of their relationship.

Fantasia’s Ben is fantastic. Sulky and sarcastic, he gets right under the skin of a character one UK critic has called “a self pitying wastrel”. With love gone sour and his youthful ambition to be a writer looking doubtful, Ben storms about the apartment lashing out at those around him rather than facing the need to make changes in his own life. It’s classic ‘quarter life crises’ stuff - painful to watch but also very funny. In fact I wish I had a copy of the script in front of me. Ben’s diatribes are hilarious. Thea - Kat’s BFF - is pronounced a “superficial pseudo hippy” and Josh - the love rival - is a “loft dwelling twit”.

The set is a simple and effective - an authentic re-creation of Gen Y shared living. There is no music or flashy lighting involved but it’s not needed. The production is unselfconscious in its realism. And it’s done really well. The four characters move around the stage with ease - picking up the Ikea furniture and packing up tattered travel books and DVDs. (Separating those are easy, Ben tells Josh - “I’m more Six Feet Under… she’s more Will And Grace…”).

Of course while there’s humour in Worlds End, it’s also very moving. Sellar questions the nature of love and the pain of its demise but thankfully doesn’t fall into cliché. The final scene is particularly resonate and Barnden and Fantasia are fantastic. In fact I’ve seen (Director) Joh Hartog’s work before, and something he does brilliantly is cultivate dramatic tension.

So if you’re out and about over the next week, grab a friend and rock down to Angas street - Worlds End is great.

Zoe Lyons