The space within the Improv Conspiracy Office, is as Nadine Sparks best describes, somebody’s office. The room is tiny and the stage even more so, lending an air of intimacy to the show.
Sparks stars in one-woman play Rehab, a Fringe show that feels less like a performance and more like a conversation. The entire act is very personal, drawing directly from Sparks’ personal experiences in rehab and the various personality types that made an impression upon her. Sparks regularly breaks off onto another topic within the beginning of the show before hurriedly bringing the conversation back to the theme of rehab and her story of how she arrived there. The banter and stories were entertaining, but I would have preferred to see something a little more rehearsed. However, considering Sparks’ improv background, it isn’t unexpected.
Her range of characters that are interpreted throughout the hour are impressive; Sparks manages to seamlessly slip into an impressive range of characters with the addition of a single accessory or item of clothing to assist in the transformation. Her introduction of each character may drag a little, but the audience seem to enjoy every minute regardless.
The closing of the show was a little rushed and seemed like there would be more to come. It ended rather abruptly and clearly needed a more concise ending.
Sparks has managed to create a highly amusing show from quite a sad topic and despite the hilarity of the show it would have been nice to have a few sombre moments throughout to let the seriousness of the topic shine through. Rehab may need a little polishing, but Sparks has certainly put down the start of a fantastic show. Also, there’s some rather brilliant line dancing involved.
Rehab runs till Saturday October 3rd. For more information and to get tickets, head to the Melbourne Fringe Festival website.