Turquoise Theatre
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A dark double take

Fringe World review: Turquoise Theatre, Lake Disappointment ·
The Blue Room Theatre as part of Summer Nights, 5 February ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

Lake Disappointment is a one-man show starring Joel Sammels as a body double, a man whose professional value is determined by his resemblance to a particular movie star.

As the Double shares his inner thoughts while substituting for the star in the production of a new film, it quickly becomes clear that he is confusing the boundaries between himself and the man he looks like.

Hyper-aware of his physical appearance, fixated on his minor achievements, and desperately waiting for his celebrity lookalike to arrive on set, the Double’s undoing is disquieting and inevitable as his grip on reality starts to slip.

Sammels gives an impassioned performance in this production, which was directed by Susannah Thompson and written by Lachlan Philpott with Luke Mullins.

It is particularly striking to hear the Double’s monologue while watching him enact the banal, repetitive tasks that are required when shooting close-up movie footage – holding and releasing a heroic pose, or grasping his fingers around a coffee cup again and again.

While Sammels evokes sympathy for a man who attaches far too much meaning to childhood recollections and casual encounters, there is some tonal confusion in the production’s attempts to balance humour and poignancy.

Although billed as a dark comedy, the script offers less laugh-out-loud moments and more wry smiles in recognition of familiar tropes, as the Double’s narcissistic traits and the trappings of showbiz are painted in broad strokes.

Lake Disappointment plays The Blue Room Theatre until February 9.

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