Review by Emily Smith
The Way Way Deep is Patrick McPherson’s newest one-man play, running in the Hat Trick tent at Perth’s Pleasure Garden in conjunction with his first show, Colossal (reviewed here).
With only a stool and a lighter for props McPherson tells a rollercoaster of a story as Ben, an excitable charmer who reconnects with a childhood best friend over an eventful night out. Ben is passionate and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is in that volatile period of his early twenties when a childlike passion for the world mixes with the freedom and the funds to do and try anything. Morality-wise he is a hard character to pin down, but his puppy-like grin and witty humour mean I can’t help but root for him.
Throughout the show McPherson slips into song occasionally, mostly original music, which could come across awkward but thanks to Ben’s enthusiasm for the subject of the songs (rekindling a friendship) and his pleasing baritone voice it flows naturally.
The rest of the music blends seamlessly with the story, highlighting the mood without taking the attention away from McPherson’s captivating delivery, and some clever use of lighting effects also take the performance to another level.
As well as the odd song Ben frequently slips in to spoken word poetry, sometimes so fast it is almost rap, which lends the story a sense of importance. Ben’s night on the town with his old friend Jack takes on a feeling of momentousness, even when they are merely catching up in a bar before the night takes a turn.
In telling the story Ben talks directly to us as an audience, explaining himself, giving context and acknowledging the various ways we might interpret his words. It is a clever device to bring into the action, getting us invested in what is already a deeply entertaining and though-provoking show.
To be bewitched by something a little different and lot fascinating this FRINGE go see The Way Way Deep at Perth’s Pleasure Garden, showing until this Sunday 4th February.