Aridhi Anderson is a theatremaker, performer and reviewer based in Melbourne. Check out her work at aridhianderson.com.
A quietly entertaining solo theatre work
Ingrid Roberts is stuck. She's been in her current job and in her current relationship for a long time, and things are beyond stagnant. They're definitely not going in any direction she'd like. At work, she's getting very tired of teaching (the same) older people (every day) what pdfs are. At home, her partner wants a baby, and she secretly wants one too, but she's having trouble getting pregnant.
Maidenhead by Rose Bishop is a sweet, raw, and subtle solo theatre/comedy show that zooms into the life and experience of a person who is simply trying to live her life and figure out the next step. It is laced with witty one-liners, relatable emotions, and surprising situations that somehow encapsulate the essence of the human experience. Bishop's performance is charming, natural and understated, and draws genuine interest from the audience despite a minimal set and no high energy/over the top drama.
The show has a number of effective elements - a neat narrative arc, evenly-spaced anchoring moments that stick as milestones in the mind, and of course, the comedy: the jokes flow smoothly and enable easy access to the more serious underlying story. There is also frequent use of audio recordings and video projections, which add variety to the performance and keep it from feeling too long. The props used in the show are simple but serve their purpose.
There are a number of memorable moments in the show that are refreshingly unique. The discovery of turds in the supply closet at work. The description of Ingrid's work crush's thighs. The alternative healing/treatment offered by the lady at the fertility clinic. There's a lot in the show that invites different qualities of laughter: sometimes a shocked groan, other times a cheeky giggle, and other times still the tenderness of empathy.
Maidenhead is a gentle-paced show which makes for a quietly entertaining evening. What it perhaps lacks in excitement, it makes up for in authenticity and provides a unique, sweetly-sad comedic experience that is anything but cliche.