BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE FRINGE 2014: MILES AWAY Takes Us on an Unusual Trip

BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE FRINGE 2014: MILES AWAY Takes Us on an Unusual Trip

Reviewed Monday 17th February 2014

Local writer, John Doherty, wrote and directed Miles Away, which tells the story of a journey of self discovery taken by a girl and her bicycle. This production, from Adelaide's Junglebean theatre company, in association with Doherty's Blue Dingo Productions, features Renee Gentle as Alex. The performance also features live music from composer and keyboard plater, Ting Yun.

Alex purchases a bicycle suitable for touring and immediately hops on it to take it for a spin, as anybody might. She feels that it needs a name and, after trying out a few, eventually settles on Gus. This initial run on her new bike somehow develops into an intention to keep riding, and so she heads north, eventually determined to cycle to Alice Springs. Although much of the journey is miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles, nevertheless, she does meet people along the way, both on the road, and in the towns through which she passes.

Gentle plays all of the characters, sixteen of them, from the cycle salesman who tries to sell her the most expensive bike in the shop, and also tries to chat her up, to her hysterical mother and much calmer father who call her on her mobile phone, to the pub owner in one of the towns, and numerous others. Doherty's writing gives plenty of scope for a performer as versatile as Gentle, and she embraces this wide range of larger than life characters with energy and enthusiasm.

The journey has its ups and downs, and the characters range from comic to poignant, each person or situation having an effect on Alex. Gentle offers a tour de force performance, switching to and fro between so many diverse characters in a high energy production. This is a new work in a high quality performance, which is what the Fringe is supposed to be about. Catch this one at the cosy Bakehouse Theatre while you can.

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Barry Lenny Born in London, Barry was introduced to theatre as a small boy, through being taken to see traditional Christmas pantomimes, as well as discovering jazz and fine music at a very young age. High school found him loving the works of Shakespeare, as well as many other great playwrights, poets and novelists. Moving to Australia, he became a jazz musician, playing with big bands and his own small groups, then attended the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide, playing with several orchestras. This led to playing in theatre pits, joining the chorus, playing character roles, playing lead roles (after moving into drama), then directing, set and lighting design, administrative roles on theatre boards and, finally, becoming a critic. After twenty years of writing he has now joined the Broadway World team to represent Adelaide, in South Australia. Barry is also a long time member of the prestigious Adelaide Critics Circle.