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Sydney Fringe Review: How to Get Rich - Sidetrack Theatre (21.09.12)

How to Get Rich is not a motivational talk about share portfolios or how to invest your super, but a one-woman show about the search for love, the 23hr flight to get to it, and the wonders of a good wax.

Aleisha McCormack has met the man of her dreams. On Facebook. After five months of Skype calls and online chats, she’s heading to London to meet him. Set on the flight from Melbourne, she crosses every stage of the pre-meeting process: excitement, trepidation, romanticism and pure, obliterating fear. Talking to her seated neighbours, she offloads the story of how her and ‘Richard’ met, and what she expects to find when she gets there. Is he real? Is she wasting her time? Does he have legs?

Aleisha is a stand-up comic and works in television, having written or presented for shows such as Rove, the Circle and 7pm Project, and she pulls a great team for this show. Directed by Julia Zemiro, you can see a certain level of her physicality imbued on Aleisha throughout the performance. Deborah Hutton also provides and excellent video cameo as Aleisha’s airline entertainment host cum agony-aunt, and displays a great sense of comic timing, even if through a pre-recorded video.

McCormack and Zemiro’s TV backgrounds come through in the show’s simple yet slick aesthetic, with an airline seat and monitor being the only set pieces. The sound design is quite extraordinary, with airline noises and background music becoming a very realistic, almost character-like part of the show. The voice of various air-hosts, including a camp Australian and a gruff Scotsman provide an extra level of humour to support the main character on her journey, creating a world for her to inhabit realistically.

Aleisha brings a solid performance not only as herself but also in multiple characters. Her nosy, paranoid aunt, her pretentious and pregnant best friend, her ditzy vajazzled beautician and an 80’s-era English air hostess all provide insights and opinions on her life, the internet, and the apparent risk she’s taking for love. Based on her own true-life experience, Aleisha bares all about her journey. It would have been nice to see more emotional dynamics in the performance and – considering this is a show about taking huge risks for love – a level of poignancy would have provided a nice juxtaposition to the often absurdist humour in the piece, which opted more for one-liners than emotional depth. However, this is a fun, wonderful take on the modern woman looking for love in a modern world.

The play will run in Melbourne at Trades Hall from Oct 2-7 as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Tickets at www.melbournefringe.com.au