Jane Austen: Private Eye
By its title you can probably tell that this FRINGE WORLD show is for fans of the famed English author Jane Austen, responsible for novels including Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility.
Jane Austen: Private Eye is dramatic, funny and intense.
This one hour solo monologue shows Jessica Messenger’s amazing acting range, talent with multiple accents and fantastic memorising skills.
She also played the ukulele, had a unique use of lighting as her only props and managed to encapsulate the essence of Austen’s witty humour.
She does all this in an essentially empty set.
Messenger’s monologue follows the character of Jane Austen through a time travelling murder mystery, allowing for many great jokes reflecting various time periods.
There are some particularly funny references to etiquette, bathrooms and popular culture.
Messenger not only plays Austen, but also takes on other roles including the narrator, a nurse, multiple police officers and various suspects.
Her ability to transform between these characters seamlessly was amazing to watch live.
With no costume changes or accessories to decipher between characters, Messenger relies solely on her ability to act through facial expressions and vocal changes.
The main criticism of this show is not of her performance but of the plot.
While the narrative had me on the edge of my seat, the resolution felt a little unfulfilling.
It gave a nice moral to the story but lacked logic.
While beloved Austen characters like Mr Darcy do not make an appearance, there are many wonderful references to Austen’s work that fans of the writer will enjoy.
The local award-winning playwright, actor, improviser and director has made her debut in her first solo performance, which ended with a loud applause from everyone in the room.
Clearly the audience, including myself, hope to see more from her in future FRINGE WORLD Festivals.