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Ashbeclee: Web Series Review

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
Published November 16th 2014
Perth girls have a comedy series to call their own
I can well remember the thrill I got reading The Honey Ant by Duncan Kyle when I realised the thriller was set in Perth. He mentioned St Georges Terrace, where I worked at that time, and a lot of the action took place in Kalgoorlie in areas I knew.

It added a lot to my enjoyment of the book that it was set in what was then relentlessly called 'the most isolated capital city in the world'. The author wrote a follow-up book set mostly in Albany called Exit and that's pretty much it for Perth as a site for adventure.

Ashbeclee, Perth, Comedy, Web Series
Ascot Racecourse - L-R: Ash (Emily Rose Brennan), Bec (Sarah Danze), Lee (Adriane Daff) - (Photograph by Courtney McAllister

Films too, very seldom even mention Perth. 'Gone to live in Perth' was, and for all I know still is, a cliché in TV soaps meaning 'written out of the script, but we don't want to kill them off just yet.'

So a web series set actually in Perth, with real recognisable landmarks is a treat. Hyde Park, Subiaco Markets, Northbridge and Ascot Racecourse all feature. What makes it even more of a treat is the original concept based very loosely on a mixture of Sex in the City meets Friends.

Ashbeclee, Perth, Comedy, Web Series
The three in Hyde Park L-R: Ash, Bec, Lee (Still from episode 1)

The premise is simple - three women, very different in outlook, ability and approach are firm friends from school days tackling the problems of the 'quarter life crisis' together. What is new and refreshing is the dialogue, partly written and partly improvised.

Director Michael Matthews: "We wanted it to feel real, instead of like a gag comedy. It was really important for us to find an honest tone, so we had more rehearsals than usual. I also allowed the actresses to improvise a lot of the dialogue when it wasn't feeling natural and this produced some of the funniest lines."

The women are three rising young actors who are on the brink of very big careers indeed. Emily Rose Brennan, Adriane Daff and Sarah Danze play Ash, Bec and Lee, the eponymous roles of the title.

Ashbeclee, Perth, Comedy, Web Series
Ashbeclee in Mt Lawley (Still from episode 1)

I, who have absolutely nothing in common with twenty-five year old women, thoroughly enjoyed the two episodes so far available. The humour is closely observed and just a tiny bit cerebral. Not everything is telegraphed, spelled out and pointed at in retrospect as we find so often in situation comedy.

In one scene a customer is trying to buy the last waistcoat, which the assistant is in fact wearing as it's hers, and in the next scene, without comment, we see the assistant without the waistcoat, so fill in the dialogue yourself and make assumptions about the character.

I look forward very much to the next episode. Episodes are available free on the web and the first can be viewed on YouTube, here.

Very highly recommended.

Hyde Park L-R: Ash, Bec, Lee

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Why? A series that is funny, authentic and quintessentially Perth.
Where: YouTube
Cost: Free
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