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Kids/Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

Feel-good show from master storyteller

30 January 2020

Rosalind Appleby and her son are captivated by the gentle storytelling in Finegan Kruckemeyer’s play, Love.

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Review: Summer Nights and Eat Life Productions, Love ·
The Blue Room, 28 January 2020 ·
Review by Rosalind Appleby ·

Finegan Kruckemeyer knows how to write stories. The Adelaide-based playwright is not yet 40 and has already written almost 100 plays (My Robot, Man Covets Bird). His play, Love, is part of the Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights series and it is one of the highlights of Fringe World’s children’s theatre.

Love is a funny, feel-good theatre show that confirms Kruckemeyer as a master of the ancient, leisurely craft of storytelling. Oslo and his mother live in a small coastal town that is threatened by a cyclone. In just 45 minutes Kruckemeyer paints an intimate picture of a 12-year-old, his relationship with his mum, his dead dad, neighbours, school crush … in fact I felt like I knew the whole town of Mellingong by the end.

In the face of an epic natural disaster, it is the micro details that build the plot. We are swept up in the jovial, warm embrace of a town that even has its own anthem, thanks to Oslo’s mum, who organised a town anthem competition. Oslo’s enterprising mum also organises community courses in things like Indonesian Appreciation (tie-dye) and Childhood Empowerment (gum boots).

The stories become more complicated and quirkier as Oslo helps his neighbours choose their most treasured possessions to take with them as they evacuate. We learn about being prepared and the importance of having someone who will listen to memories.

Kruckemeyer relies heavily on narration – rather than dialogue – and this role falls mostly to Oslo. Courtney Henri brings a winsome simplicity to Oslo and carries the show. Katie Keedy is larger than life as Oslo’s mother, and Holly Meegan and Mararo Wangai move seamlessly between multiple town characters.

Director Alexa Taylor does lots with little, using every inch of the intimate venue. Clare Testoni’s AV projections and David Stewart’s sound design bring colour and another layer of emotion to the story. The simple but powerful use of song, fabric and silhouette make the story of the river goddess and the man particularly compelling.

My nine-year-old (and every other person in the room) was captivated from beginning to end. This show comes highly recommended.

Love continues until 1 February 2020.

Pictured top: Courtney Henri and Katie Keedy as Oslo and his mother. Photo Susie Blatchford, Pixel Poetry,

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Rosalind Appleby

Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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