Printable CopyCARRIED AWAY
Adelaide Botanic Gardens - Noel Lothian Hall
Until 18 Mar 2018

Review by Thomas Filsell

“Carried Away” is an earnest look at the life experiences, relationships, thoughts and emotions of a young woman as she loses her first child in a miscarriage, then deals with the fear and uncertainty of becoming pregnant again in an unplanned and untimely manner.

Phoebe, our protagonist, is a fun-loving, fast-living, nightclub frequenting, binge drinking, techno-head, with a soft spot for the spiritual and no plans to slow down. But, after finally accepting the positive result on her (tenth?) self-pregnancy test, she is forced to re-evaluate her lifestyle, her decisions, her relationships, and she is confronted with the painful memories of her past, when she lost her first child and much of her innocence.

Phoebe was portrayed, on my viewing, by Lizzie Grace – a funny, flighty, quick-witted, delight, with a flair for the comedic, who was also great at changing the levels and emotions to suit the tone, even on a dime.

Grace was a very talented and likeable performer, but she shares the show with her production partner Alexandra Simonet. It would be very interesting to see how the other performer interprets the work they both wrote using their mothers’ real life experiences.

The subject matter – unexpected pregnancies and miscarriages – might seem a bit heavy, and “Carried Away” certainly has dark and emotionally challenging, even depressing moments, but there is really more humour and hopefulness than dour and doom, and the character and her story is so likeable and relatable that it is not hard for us to be taken in and along for the ride.

The stage was cleverly constructed and the lighting design and choreography was impressive, but the venue was a bit of a distraction and a detraction from the show. Soundproofing was lacking in the hall-cum-makeshift theatre, and the loud, inappropriate music of WOMADELAIDE could be heard throughout most of Grace’s performance. She was not distracted, nor fazed, however, but it did distract me and I felt bad for Grace and Simonet who had clearly put so much effort into crafting such a delicate, personal and human show.

The collaborative efforts made by Grace and Simonet in creating this short piece of theatre are commendable. The performance was word perfect, the characters and events perfectly lifelike and believable, and the lighting and sound cues were always timely executed. The timeline of events, however, was slightly difficult to follow – I found myself occasionally unsure whether we were following present Phoebe or past Phoebe – and there was little closure or counsel offered on the show’s main theme of how to discuss and deal with a miscarriage.

There was sufficient emotion and pathos surrounding Phoebe’s miscarriage, both in the script and coming through in Grace’s estimable performance, but we didn’t really learn anything, nor gain a new insight or perspective on the subject.

An important issue was raised, but ideas, answers, suggestions inadequately discussed.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)