Trapped in a telephone operator job in 1940s Sydney, Grace dreams of an elsewhere. In this charming one-woman show, Jennifer Williams (writer and actor) shares Grace’s story with us as the character travels to England after marrying a British soldier.
The story is sweet, if slightly predictable, yet what really stands out is the writing.
The story is set against a background of gentle music composed and performed by Chris Williams. The set is simply two washing lines strung across the stage and hung with creased cloth maps and sheets of purple material. These are then used to represent various locations and props throughout the production. Although this is effective, the fact that the performer has to dodge the string is distracting and a little bit twee.
After taking a while to find her feet, Jennifer Williams skilfully portrays various characters of all genders and ages, adjusting her mannerisms, tone of voice and body language accordingly. Perhaps her most convincing portrayal is that of her mother in law: the relationship between the two women is amusing without being overplayed. The story is sweet, if slightly predictable, yet what really stands out is the writing. The Cold Clear Elsewhere is beautifully, sensitively written, with some delicate and imaginative descriptions. Grace’s character is well developed, restless and animated on her journey to England and in her descriptions of the other women she meets on the way.
Williams is clearly talented and her creation and portrayal of the characters is impressive and professional. Although perhaps not the most blindingly original play on the Fringe, this is a relaxing and enjoyable hour.