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A Prudent Man at Melbourne Fringe 2016

Home > Melbourne > Comedy | Festivals | Performing Arts
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
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Political satire at its sharpest
It would be hard to imagine a sharper contrast than between the first two Melbourne Fringe shows I've seen this year. The first, Alice Tovey - Personal Messiah, was laugh out loud funny, bold and outrageous. On the other hand, A Prudent Man was tight, biting and powerful. Two very different shows, but each compelling and entertaining. Where Alice Tovey left me chuckling, A Prudent Man left me reflecting.

A Prudent Man - Melbourne Fringe 2016
A Prudent Man is a solo performance by Lyall Brooks

A Prudent Man is a solo performance by Lyall Brooks, whose last appearance at the Melbourne Fringe was in 2011 with The Kiss of Death. Brooks has an impressive list of screen appearances also, including The Dr Blake Mysteries, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, and Rake, to name a few. He is also a three time Green Room Award nominee.

In A Prudent Man, Brooks is seated centre stage, under the full glare of an unflattering light, with a table bearing a jug and glass of water. While the audience is never specifically informed of this, it appears as though his character is in a police interview, or perhaps giving evidence in court.

Dressed in a blue suit, not a hair out of place, shiny wedding ring in evidence, Brooks' character is, at the outset, the picture of conservatism.

A Prudent Man - Melbourne Fringe 2016
Slowly, the story is revealed

Slowly he starts to tell his story. We glean that he is a politician, right wing, who has an ordinary life, an ordinary wife and two children. He starts out on an ordinary day, puts on his track suit and heads off for a walk, as he has on so many days before.

Except this time, something extraordinary happens. While he is out walking, the politician is faced with a dilemma. He takes what he feels is the prudent approach. But is it morally or legally right? Others will have to make that determination.

I'm deliberately expressing this in vague terms, as to do otherwise would rob the show of its impact.

A Prudent Man has been exceptionally well written; it's a triumph for writer and director Katy Warner, a former Melbourne Fringe winner, as well as for producer Adam Fawcett. There is no fluff, the production is tight as a drum, and builds the tension and impact so beautifully.

Lyall Brooks is outstanding in the role of the politician. He looks like he has spent hours studying the nuances and mannerisms of politicians, so polished is his execution of the role. The way his character slowly reveals his story, becoming more unhinged by the minute, showcases Brooks' acting maturity and depth.

A Prudent Man - Melbourne Fringe 2016
Becoming more unhinged as the story builds

At the end of show, we walked out saying: 'Wow! That was brilliant!'. It really was that good!

If you like thought provoking, impactful, rather black theatre that will leave you with plenty to reflect on in the days to follow, you must see A Prudent Man.

A Prudent Man plays each night except Mondays until Saturday 1st October - 9.00pm on all nights except Sundays, when the sessions start at 8.00pm. The venue is the Rehearsal Room at the Fringe Hub: Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne.

Tickets are $25 full, $20 concession, $15 cheap Tuesday. The session was a sell out the night we attended, so make sure you buy your tickets online now so you don't miss out.

Running time: 50 minutes.

Image attribution:

The images in this article were taken and provided by A Prudent Man's producer, Adam Fawcett.
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*Fiona Anderson was invited as a guest
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Why? Clever, sharp, black political satire
When: Plays Tues-Sun until Saturday 1st October. Check program for session times.
Phone: (03) 9660 9666
Where: Fringe Hub: Arts House - Rehearsal Room, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
Cost: $25 full, $20 concession, $15 cheap Tuesday
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