Writer: Rebecca Rayne
Director: Justin Murray
The life of an upcoming actor requires Sisyphean levels of perseverance, with repeated rejection a necessary part of the process. When combined with the slings and arrows of everyday life, the struggling auditioner can feel like just another helpless character in a tale told by a cruel narrator. The absurdity of this position is explored in Rebecca Rayne’s one-woman show, which is full of jokes and technical trickery, but ultimately runs short of being a full success.
Whilst seeking her big break is the main occupation of the protagonist, she must subsidise her income with side hustles, working in a bar and babysitting. We find her at a low point, having walked out of an audition for a part in another ludicrous TV program. Her dating life is a self-destructive mess of unsuitable Hinge matches, and her relationship with her agent is no less stable.
For a one-woman show, it’s packed with characters, who are either heard on a pre-recorded backing track or seen projected behind her as part of Zoom calls. The use of video, music and sound here is perfectly managed, with the dialogue naturally dovetailing and the characters as real as if they were on stage. There are some playfully clever moments where the soundtrack seems to know what she is going to do even before she does, showing the inevitability of her weak self-discipline in her approach to men, for instance
The line between sanity and madness is questioned with a foul-mouthed talking baby who acts as the devil on her shoulder, perhaps representing her own negative thought processes. It’s a silly conceit that takes the suspension of belief to a fun, surreal new level, reassuring us that the metaness of the storytelling isn’t going to be taking itself too seriously.
There are laughs throughout this 45-minute show, as the protagonist’s disaffection and failure accumulate, and the auditions that come and go are imaginative in their ridiculousness. However, the action stays at a similar pitch throughout and by the end is treading similar ground. Given the access we have to the protagonist’s inner thoughts, there is scope for this to be developed further, but there is no doubt that Rayne has created a likeable, relatable character here.
Reviewed on 10 August 2022
The Camden Fringe runs from 1-28 August 2022