What happens after January when the summer holidays are over? For Alex, who has just finished the HSC, his destiny hangs in the balance as he counts down 17 more days until he receives his OP score. Alex is a quiet, clean-cut kid who has lived a relatively comfortable, sheltered life under the protection of his overbearing single mother, Tessa. Up until this point he has been content with taking the linear road in life. Getting the score he needs will determine the course of his life… an arts law degree followed by a secure, acceptable career. Life, however, has a way of throwing us curve balls.
Alex & Fortuna image courtesy of Javeenbah Theatre
The story is set at Tessa's holiday beach house on the Sunshine Coast. It's the 1980s when life and relationships seemed to move a little slower. Alex's holiday routine consists of reading the newspaper, body surfing and playing a game of pool from time to time. He's pretty much a loner until he meets Fortuna on the beach. She has a nose ring and the distinct air of being a hippie-child. They are clear opposites and instantly attracted to each other.
The story is simple and poses no surprises. It merely represents the beauty of first love and the acceptance of two people heading in different directions in life. Alex, played by Ethan Robinson, is an endearing character whose unpretentiousness wins the heart of Fortuna, her parents and the audience. Fortuna, played by Josie Cross, is well cast as the lay back hippie-child adapting to her parents' view of life whilst staying open minded to forming her own views. Together, Alex and Fortuna share their perspective on life and how they handled the cards they were dealt.
Jocelyn Moore-Carter who plays Tessa, by did a superb job of being the annoying mother. Her lack of tact will leave you wincing, maybe not so much for Alex's sake but because you may relate as a parent. Libby Bancroft did not miss a beat as Fortuna's mother considering she only had a weeks' notice to replace a cast member. Fred, the plumber (Barry Gibson) gave us a good laugh. It was easy to relate to this simple story and its characters. I would have liked to have seen more energy between Alex and Fortuna to accentuate the vibrancy felt from first love. The awkwardness and shyness was apparent but it appeared that the actors played it a little too safe when it came to exploration of their characters. It is, after all, a story about first love so that special energy should be expelled to the audience to enhance their experience of the play.
Director Amy-Louise Anderson did a wonderful job with creating an atmosphere where the audience was able to feel that they were participating in the summer holiday. The set was well designed to represent the holiday house, the beach (yes, there was sand) and the backyard BBQ.
Alex, Tessa & Fortuna image courtesy of Javeenbah Theatre
This is a great family play that can be enjoyed by young and not so young. Bring the whole family. It will give you a chance to share your first love story on the way home…if you dare.
Javeenbah Theatre is a small intimate, air-conditioned theatre located in Nerang. It is beautifully set up with tables and chairs al fresco where you can meet friends prior to the show and enjoy drinks and nibbles at the fully licensed bar. There is also comfortable seating indoors. Opening night tickets include a light supper after the show giving you an opportunity to socialise and meet the cast and crew. Javeenbah is an Aboriginal word meaning 'The Meeting Place'.
I recommend you book in as early as possible, especially if you are planning to go as a group, as Javeenbah is a small theatre with limited seating.