REVIEW: Sirens – Melbourne Fringe

Eden has grown up and is stuck living in a seaside town, lured to the beach and AirBNBs by surfers, and stoners but mostly driven by the siren song of Grindr. He has an okay relationship with his parents, who he still lives with, while he works several jobs around town. Occasionally, he and his mum sing songs together at church and it’s in music that Eden can escape the grind of his existence.

Writer and performer Benjamin Nichol has crafted a stunning portrait of a complicated young man, multi-faceted and real. His evocations of the small beach side community are stunning and the various townsfolk – and Eden’s parents, are beautifully realised. The physicality in Nichol’s performance/s makes watching him both viscerally and visually captivating.

Liv Satchell’s direction brings out the best in her performer, while also enriching the text with very specific tableaux – etching some moments clear into the memory. Lighting Designer Harrie Hogan’s work illuminates Eden’s story in the best way.

I have minor quibbles about where the story heads – after the beautifully specific story of Eden’s life in the small town unfolds, the climax felt like it was treading water and the final moment, while honestly performed, felt just a tad indulgent.

Sirens is full of heart and warmth without shying away from some difficult subject matter. The play is a kind of post-coming out story; Eden has dived in but having had no support growing up, he is more likely to sink than swim. This is a beautiful character study and Nichol's performance is wonderful.

- Keith Gow, Theatre First

Sirens sings until October 23rd as part of Melbourne Fringe