Fringe Review: Just Like The Movies

by Jane

When Josephine Were packed her suitcase, waved Adelaide goodbye, and jumped on a plane to the good old US of A she knew what it was going to be like. America: land of the free, home of the brave, and of the hot. Under those tall American skyscrapers, travelling those American rails, on the wide-open US highways, Were was going to find love. Just like the movies.

Just Like The Movies is a simple, delightful monologue on Were’s travels through the US: from meeting cow-boys, to inadvertently staying in dead-baby orphanages, to (hopefully) highly atypical encounters on airplanes, Were excitedly recounts her tale to the audience.  While Were occasionally reveals her naivety, this is part of her charm, and oddly becomes a part of her strength: the ability to move through some of the incidents she finds herself in with a smile on her face (and what an enhancing smile it is) just makes the audience love her all the more.

Matthew Gregan underscores the show on electric guitar, his smooth composition invoking those cool blues rhythms we instinctively pair with our imagery of the United States.  Terrance Crawford’s direction has the elements of music and text speaking with each other, creating a nice structure to the piece that easily carries the audience through the short forty-five minutes.

In the lyrical monologue, rhyme is used in Were’s text with mixed success: it works best when the rhymes and quick pattern and rhythms add an urgency and speed to the story, but it occasionally jolts, particularly when Were cheats with a false or near rhyme.

These jolts, however, are minor, and Were’s enthusiasm for her stories – and for the stories of the movies she references (everything is fair game, right up to The Social Network) carries past any minor quibbles in the text.

As Were collects states and men, Just Like The Movies is fast moving and very funny.  Ultimately, though, the show reaches its biggest strength in the surprisingly moving and emotional end, as Were finds herself a love not like the movies at all – but rather like a movie I would love to see.

Socks and Sandals presents Just Like The Movies, written and performed by Josephine Were. Music written and performed by Matthew Gregan. Directed by Terrance Crawford. At Paper String Plastic until 16 March. More information and tickets.

Disclaimer: musician Matthew Gregan appears as an actor in Sepia, the fringe show I am production managing.