Review by Nerissa Rowan
It’s the last night of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, and the show is sold out. We meet on a street corner, before being led down a dark alleyway. What awaits us? Should we be frightened? Is this a trap?
But from behind the trees emerges a brightly lit garden surrounding a beautiful old Queenslander. The verandah is full of waiting audience members, drinking tea, coffee and hot chocolate. It has the feel of a garden party, as we run into people we know, chat and take in the surroundings.
Soon the front doors open and we are led into a spacious living room. I settle on a mattress piled with cushions, closest to the fireplace. The atmosphere is friendly, and we feel we’ve arrived at a friends’ party. When the hostesses arrive, there are magic tricks and party games which get everyone joining in. Tonight is clearly about having a good time.
The Travelling Sisters Let Loose is a comfortable cabaret, which loosely links stories, songs and traveller’s tales. Lucy Fox and Ell Sachs tell us how they found this “abandoned” house, and how they’ve passed their time since — bathing in memories and music. They wander the room, so no matter where you sit, you’ll be in the perfect spot for some part of the action.
The subject matters are many and varied, including love, loss, losing face and losing inhibitions. Whether fact or fiction, they feel like personal stories, told with real emotion in conversational style, in song or in poetry. The songs are quirky and clever, and the voices are beautiful. One epic song is accompanied with a gorgeous animation projected on a wall.
Throughout the night, the audience is treated to snacks. The relaxed atmosphere helps us feel that we can sing along or clap in time to the music just as we would among friends. Some are asked to help build a blanket fort. It would be difficult not to smile — but why would you try?
The Travelling Sisters Let Loose is an enormously warm feel-good show. It’s staged like a family concert — but my family is nowhere near as talented as this pair. I look forward to finding out what new adventures they will take us on.
The Travelling Sisters Let Loose ran from 8 to 19 May, 2013. Anywhere Theatre Festival