Fringe Review: Tracksuit Girl

by Jane

The small room is circled by chairs, every one filled. We’re introduced to Neil (Eugene Suleau). Poor Neil.  Slightly nervous, slightly lisping, he frantically transcribes text messages onto pieces of paper, dropping them into a silver trophy with a A4 home-printer print out “What makes you happy? Text […]”

Then he says: “She’s coming.”

In a slightly flailing entrance over the hip height swinging doors, in falls a black-stockinged woman, dancing around the room for slightly longer than completely comfortable, before donning a tracksuit matching Neil’s: this is Tracksuit Girl (Amy Ingham).

Taking the clip board she introduces herself to people in the room: telling people their suggestions were great – she hopes they can get to them.  She asks people to pull out their mobile phones (non-iPhone holders get a celebration, the Nokia holder gets a high-five), and turn them off. Completely off. Tonight, it’s about this room.

Neil is asked to bring out the spoons, and we all dip into the Nutella jar – big scoops, Tracksuit Girl doesn’t want to see anything half-arsed here.

Over the course of the hour, Tracksuit Girl and Neil get audience members to lie on the ground and demonstrate sleeping positions; they speak to us on the seedy world which exists outside of our safe space; they pretend we are in lessons to learn internet speak (“LOL, ROLF”, says Tracksuit Girl. “ROLF?”, asks Neil. “It’s ROFL”, he berates); Tracksuit Girl delves into past altercations, and in one she whispers words in my ear to repeat to Neil, me playing a young Tracksuit Girl, he playing an old crush.

The audience hold hands and close eyes and are whispered back secrets. We sing along to songs, we laugh at the beautiful and odd relationship between Tracksuit Girl and Neil, we very much enjoy being in their energetic, awkward, loving presence. We … are not following a story.

Granted, it was the first day of the head cold which is still knocking me around, and yes, it was a late(ish) show, but … I have no idea what happened.

I know it was set in the year 2022 because the program told me. I know I am very supportive of the emerging theme of Nutella Theatre in this years Fringe. I know I laughed a lot. I know I choose the seat near the window thinking I’ll be near the cool breeze, and not knowing I would be near the source of entrances and exits for the performance. I know in whatever reality we were in, we were doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing. I know I got up on stage and “acted” in front of people whose work I’ve reviewed in the past – and they found this greatly amusing. I know when Tracksuit Girl and Neil escaped at the end, and we were shoved, a bewildered audience into the hallways of the Austral, all we could do was look into each others faces laugh, and clap for our no longer present performers – connected through this brilliant, crazy thing we’d just gone through together. I know the posters tell me “She’ll make you feel good.”

And she did.

Rebecca Meston presents Tracksuit Girl, written and directed by Rebecca Meston, with Amy Ingham, Eugene Suleau and Ninian Donald. In the Austral Red Room for the Adelaide Fringe. Season closed.