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Review: All the Fraudulent Horse Girls at Fringe Hub - Melbourne Fringe Festival

Review by Thomas Gregory


While the world’s fascination with “bronies” is finally calming down, and we are finally having conversations about the evils of horse racing, there will never be a time when we stop being interested in ponies in general. Enter Lazy Yarns, a theatre company from Perth, and the utterly brilliant All the Fraudulent Horse Girls.


Horse Girls is the tale of Audrey, an 11-year-old suburban girl obsessed with horses. She has pictures of them, books of them, an inhaler that looks like one, and is even reading Cormac McCarthy’s “All the Pretty Horses” simply because of the title. She can even speak telepathically to all the other Horse Girls worldwide.

As Audrey geeks out on the topic for us, she also tells us what it is like being an 11-year-old girl - how she wishes so deeply to become very good friends with a girl from “The Saddle Club”, doesn’t understand why the mean girls at school like horses but not here, and why even outcasts don’t want to be friends with just anyone. Audrey tells us about the time she tried to steal a horse, and the dream she experienced after doing so.


An unusual addition to the script by Michael Louis Kennedy is an opening interview with a writer who, as a “horse girl” herself, has written a book about the “divinity of horses”. While just as funny as the remainder of the play, it is unusual because it is (almost) the only detour from the primary story. I say almost because the ending, the best ending of Fringe, should not be spoiled.


The writing of this play is of such a standard that I could imagine it being one day published, with university theatre groups putting on productions and parts of it performed as popular audition monologues. The humour is ever-present but comes from a place that is instantly recognisable to most audience members and accessible to people from all walks of life. The story is interesting without being over-the-top and Audrey is, if not ourselves, a close friend or sibling we knew when we were eleven.


The acting in this production is also superb. The actor playing Audrey especially captures the almost-innocent nature of the prepubescent. Full of wonder and joy when talking about horses, but there are moments of anger, gleeful maliciousness, and confused arousal that are performed with great skill. The actors playing her fellow school students, her parents, and other assorted characters do a good job of switching quickly between characters, understanding the playfulness of the text, and keeping the energy high.


All the Fraudulent Horse Girls has been a runaway success in Perth and now Melbourne. I fully expect we will hear further praise wherever it is performed.

Image Supplied


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