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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You

In 1950 a US town changed their name to that of a popular radio quiz show. This is a story that needed to be told.
By Bonnie Leigh-Dodds
May 04, 2014
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Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting For You

In 1950 a US town changed their name to that of a popular radio quiz show. This is a story that needed to be told.
By Bonnie Leigh-Dodds
May 04, 2014
  shares
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In 1950 a small town in New Mexico changed their name from Hot Springs to the title of a popular radio quiz show, Truth or Consequences. It was an attempt by the people of the town to put their name on the map (so to speak) and win the honour of becoming the town in which the show is broadcast. It’s an incredible story just begging for someone to write a play about it and thankfully someone did.

Melbourne playwright Louris van de Geer has produced a script that, despite having no real plot, delivers fascinating and flawed characters. While there's a lack of clear message behind the play, it works brilliantly as a study of human existence and the extent to which people will go in order to be noticed.

Hello There is exciting and engaging the whole way through due to flawless performances by all actors as well as a production design that complements the script perfectly. The set features pieces that are self consciously artificial — the houses, the dressing rooms, and the studio are all flexible and visibly fake. Combined with the presence of screens, projections, cameras and studio lighting there's a general sense of being watched in a location that eludes definition.

Performances by all four actors (Don Bridges, Susie Dee, Genevieve Giuffre and Aaron Orzech) are impressive. Bridges and Dee bring moments of intensity, endearing honesty and dazzling artificiality whilst Giuffre and Orzech offer a refreshingly honest and high energy partnership. The performers carry the work and their understanding of the humour, as well as the darkness in the script, are a testament to the solid direction by Samara Hersch.

The only failure of the play was the slightly underwhelming ending which unfortunately let the show fall a bit flat, despite being otherwise brilliant. Perhaps this is the downfall of a script with no recognisable storyline; there can be no grand eruption, no catharsis, and ultimately no consequence. However, in a work which focuses on the lives of those living for no real purpose other than fame, fortune or at the very least recognition, there can be no consequence — only truth.

This show is appearing as part of Next Wave 2014. Check out our top picks of the festival here.

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