It’s not often that I see a show that has me in awe already halfway through. When the lights flickered on during interval, I turned to my company and just said “Wow”. But there’s something so special about Fairly Lucid Productions’ Bed and Breakfast. Its sincerity, depth and heart broke me into a million little pieces, and like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, it put me back together again, but with gold.
Written by Canadian playwright Mark Crawford in its international debut and directed by Tom Healey, Bed and Breakfast tells the story of a gay couple who inherit a house in the countryside and turn it into a bed and breakfast inn.
We follow characters Brett and Drew, played by Ben Noble and Alex Thew respectively, as they move from Melbourne to Ballarat. Having been together for eight years, the couple’s next step is to buy a house. So, when Brett inherits his favourite aunt’s old home, the pair decide to make a sea change for the better.
Change is not without its challenges however, and the couple experience many struggles through the course of a year with love, family, community, prejudice, secrets, and the trials and tribulations of running your own business.
I couldn’t help but feel inspired to road trip to countryside to stay at a bed and breakfast when watching this production, something that I admittedly have never done before. Not only for a getaway, but to support a struggling small business. I also couldn’t stop wondering that if travel accommodation walls could talk, just how juicy and crazy the stories would be.
The magic of Bed and Breakfast is that the multiple characters in this production are all played by two actors. Noble and Thew have excellent on-stage chemistry already as characters Brett and Drew, with their relationship and love for each other so refreshingly open, honest, and loving.
But the energy on stage is enhanced tenfold when the acting duo portray other characters, changing their mannerisms, displaying new accents, and shifting their body language. You would think that this would be a difficult feat, and I’m sure it is, but Noble and Thew execute their performances so convincingly and flawlessly, it isn’t hard to tell which character is which, as it is done seamlessly and with sheer talent.
The characters in Bed and Breakfast feel real. They’re our friends, our neighbours, our family members, each with their own emotional journey and growth. By the end of the production, I was so emotionally invested, I really didn’t want to say goodbye to any of them, and I would be surprised if these characters weren’t inspired by real people.
To help the cast take audiences on a ride, the clever and minimalistic set design by Sam Diamond undergoes its own transformation, almost like an additional character. The way that Bed and Breakfast also uses sound effects and music is ingenious.
Noble and Thew thoroughly impressed me with their excellent portrayals in an already brilliant play. I wish I could name you and tally up all the characters that they take on in Bed and Breakfast, but I honestly lost count because I became so captivated by the story. I daresay that this is one of the best things I have seen on stage and is one that I will never forget.
Bed and Breakfast is the perfect combination of hilarious and heartfelt. It took me on a rollercoaster journey (almost like a murder mystery but without the murder part) that had me guessing while entranced for the entirety of its duration. It also made me cackle, face-palm on several occasions, made my jaw drop, and left me quietly crying in my seat. And the only reason why I didn’t give the show a standing ovation is because I was so awestruck by how incredible this production really is.
Fairly Lucid Productions’ Bed and Breakfast is now on and playing at Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel until the 18th of September and I implore everyone to please see this wonderful production before it leaves.
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Photography by Cameron Grant, Parenthesy.