Ambitious attempt to traverse an Australian cultural landscape
By Myron My
“Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees…” How the Australian dream has changed since 1974. But has it been for better of for worse? Presented as part of the Poppy Seed Festival, Hotel Now’s What’s Yours Is Mine explores Australian values and ownership of a land that was never ours to own, with an elaborate touch of campness.
The show begins at a reunion for Olympic Games volunteers where three friends – Milly, Ollie and Syd – reconnect and decide to go on a road trip together; Milly has just quit her job, Ollie has a car and Syd just wants to get away from everything. Cue road-trip montage and offbeat adventures as the three friends travel through the country.
The performances from Hayden Burke, Simone French and Tom Halls are full of energy and commitment, and having seen French and Halls in Hotel Now‘s 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Nothing Special, I found the two continue to share some great chemistry on stage. The direction by Yvonne Virsik is insightful and provoking in the way she chooses to represent and display the ideas raised in show.
What worked brilliantly in Nothing Special was the focus on an aspect of modern culture that was explored to the extreme. Sadly, I feel this doesn’t work as well in What’s Yours Is Mine, as this look at Australian culture is far too broad in scope, and what we end up seeing is a whole lot of ideas, but a disjointed story that is difficult to connect with.
There is a scene where the three characters describe all the “ingredients” needed in explaining what makes ‘Australian culture’, and I couldn’t help wishing the creators had taken their own advice here and been more refined and less haphazard with what they chose to explore and how they choose to do it. As it stands, What’s Yours Is Mine is a pretty performance to look at on the outside, but on the inside I’m afraid it felt a bit of a mess.