The Bookworm

Melbourne Fringe
Reviewed 16th September 2014

Punnily named Paige Turner is a bookworm.  She eats books. Literally. 

Ensconced in a ‘living room’ set built into a church space in Footscray, decorated in a shabby vintage chic, and lit with an impressive array of charming practical lamps, solo performer Belinda Campbell invites us into the workings of Paige’s mind, and slowly reveals the history that has led her to her current state.

This is Campbell’s first solo show.  Her character is lovingly realised, and it is clear a great deal of devoted care has gone into the production.  There are many beautiful moments, a tape recorder used to provide sound, the detailed and intricate set and props, the careful switching on and off of the lamps.  There is endearing comedy at the outset, although the balance between light and shade falls off in the latter part of the show as the story takes a darker turn.

The ending is abrupt, and I wonder if perhaps we are missing a story point at about the three-quarter mark, something to counter the general downward spiral of Paige’s life, and our experience.  The script needs an edit, and parts of the performance could afford to be tightened up, but for a first outing this is a lovingly made piece of theatre, with lots of heart. 

When she's not making theatre, Hannah likes critiquing it, and is a contributing theatre reviewer for Theatreview, the New Zealand Listener, Broadway Baby and The Wireless.

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