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Ross & Rachel - Melbourne Fringe

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by Mistress of Culture Vultures (subscribe)
I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
Event: -
Dark romanticism and sacrifice in tragic love story
Spinning Plates present the darker side of romance in Ross & Rachel, on now at Theatre Works in the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Book your tickets here.

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Theatre Works, St Kilda, Friends, Ross, Rachel, James Fritz, Faran Martin, Jessica Stanley, Spinning Plates
Jessica Stanley in 'Ross & Rachel' - photo by Sarah Clarke


Written by James Fritz, Ross & Rachel is written as a duologue, but performed as a monologue and featured in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has played in New York.

Despite the title, the play is not about the popular couple Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) in the television Friends. However, cleverly there are references to the show, including 'Princes Leila' and the highs and lows of a rollercoaster romance, spanning across several years.

Ross & Rachel has arrived in Australia to premiere in the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival through the collaboration of Jessica Stanley and James Cerche in Spinning Plates Co - an independent collective of theatre and filmmakers based in Melbourne.

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Theatre Works, St Kilda, Friends, Ross, Rachel, James Fritz, Faran Martin, Jessica Stanley, Spinning Plates
Jessica Stanley in 'Ross & Rachel' - photo by Sarah Clarke


Directed by Faran Martin, this is a challenging and dark romantic piece, where Jessica plays the central characters of the husband (Ross) and wife (Rachel) and all the minor characters as a 60-minute monologue, performed as 'theatre-in-the-round'.

The main premise of the play is Ross collapses and is diagnosed with a brain tumour and the performance is a series of flashbacks of their life together. Rachel dreams of another life and at one stage considers an affair with a colleague at her day job. Ross fantasises and dreams of their wedding, his surgery to remove the tumour and plan to end his life.

The flashbacks play with our sense of time and it is easy to get a little lost with which character owns which fantasy or narrative. However, there is method to James Fritz 'madness' as the performance reflects the dynamics and intensity of 'eros', 'philia' and 'pragma' exploring the concept of 'marriage' where identities fuse to become 'one'.

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Theatre Works, St Kilda, Friends, Ross, Rachel, James Fritz, Faran Martin, Jessica Stanley, Spinning Plates
Jessica Stanley in 'Ross & Rachel' - photo by Sarah Clarke


Jessica Stanley's performance is magnificent as she navigates the cross narratives and embodies the different identities as the conflict intensifies through Ross and Rachel's journey through diagnosis, treatment, grief, and end of life decisions. This is no mean feat for a performer and Jessica Stanley continually amazes as she did when playing the life of a sex worker in 'Menage' as part of the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival and her work with North of Eight.

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Theatreworks, St Kilda, Friends, Ross, Rachel, James Fritz, Faran Martin, Jessica Stanley, Spinning Plates
Jessica Stanley in 'Ross & Rachel' - photo by Sarah Clarke


This is art – so get to Theatre Works this week for the experience of Ross & Rachel, on now until 23 September.
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*Mistress of Culture Vultures was invited as a guest
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Why? Would you die for the one you love?
When: 7.00 pm
Phone: 03 9534 4879
Where: Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda, Vic, 3182
Cost: $22.00 – $25.00
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