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Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013
Written & directed by Alexander Sparrow

at Fringe Bar, Cnr Cuba & Vivian, Wellington
From 1 Mar 2013 to 2 Mar 2013

Reviewed by Stewart Lund, 2 Mar 2013

A Collection of Noises is a dark and haunting new one-woman play written and directed by comedian Alexander Sparrow, who features in both this year's Fringe and Comedy festivals. It seems to me quite unusual that such a depressing piece of work can have come from the mind of a comedian, but that only shows how talented and versatile a writer he is. I have had no previous experience with his work, other than hearing the name before, but was interested to see what his play had to offer, having heard good things about his Stand-Up performances. 

As the synopsis says, A Collection of Noises follows Alice (played by Alice Sherwood-King) as she navigates her troubled mind. All sorts of things come up, and they plague her in her already rather disturbed life. She exists in a black and white world, which the set and costuming cleverly reflect.

It truly is a harrowing experience, both the events in the play and to be an audience member. What I find so engaging is how these two seem to mix. Us audience folk end up almost becoming a part of the story; it really is quite frightening.

It is also rather claustrophobic: the closed in world of Alice in her little black and white room. Each small segment of the story is intertwined with music taken from the 50s which add to the dark atmosphere.

Alice Sherwood-King is able to tackle all emotions with ease. Her performance is inspiring, as she fights her character's innermost demons. Albeit a one person play, each of Alice's problems in life seems to be a character of its own without actually appearing on stage.

Sherwood-King survives for all the 45 minutes with nothing more than perhaps a slight line mishap, which was covered without problem. Sitting in the back did mean that some of the earlier lines missed my ears, and a microphone may have been a good idea.

All in all however, A Collection of Noises is a beautifully acted, cleverly-scripted and surprisingly dark, depressing and thoughtful little play with a lavish set which reflects the content well. Perhaps it could have benefitted from a venue more suited to theatre, as the sound of police sirens and motorbikes zooming past during the climax is not perfect. However, this is not my place to question, and it does not take anything from the play itself.

As it is only open for two nights at the Fringe Bar on Cuba Street, I highly recommend you go and check it out. Take a friend with you: it is well worth it.  
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