Review by Tatum Stafford
Patrick McPherson’s brand-new play ‘The Way Way Deep’ is a really impactful and moving piece of theatre that will stay with you long after he bows.
Having seen Patrick in ‘Pear’ at the Perth Fringe Festival earlier this year, I was eager to see his renowned solo performance style up close, after missing out on a ticket to ‘Colossal’, his previous show, in Perth.
The show explores a 20-year friendship between Ben and Jack, who haven’t seen each other in years and reconnect one day at a pub. As they chat and catch up, it’s apparent to Ben that Jack isn’t quite who he used to be, and he’s lost a bit of the ‘spark’ that made him so fun to be around back then. Can one ‘big night out’ get the old Jack back again, and give them both a fun night to remember?
The script for this show is incredibly relatable, tight, and clever. Utilising rhymes in rap-like songs, and plenty of wordplay in dialogue sequences, the words seem to dance off Patrick’s tongue seamlessly.
Patrick is an incredibly dynamic and skilled performer. This is a very precise show, with words set to music, lighting cues set to dialogue, and so on, and Patrick nails each and every cue with admirable precision.
One of this show’s strengths, alongside its solo performer, is its set. It’s simple but so effective – comprised of 6 to 8 light beams that illuminate with different colours throughout the show, and even act as makeshift props themselves; turning into ringing smartphones, or other characters altogether. The lights are also synced to some of the show’s vibey music, which is really satisfying and engaging to watch, as Patrick weaves through beams and into new scenarios.
The ending of the show (no spoilers here) leaves a lot of questions about the plot unanswered, which feels like a very purposeful choice; to not tie everything up in a bow, as life is not always this simplistic. I enjoyed this choice, and found the atmosphere of the show’s final moment very moving and strong.
Whether you’re a fan of theatre or just want to see something a little different this Fringe, this show has something for everyone and is a great new piece by Patrick McPherson, who I’m confident will go on to become a household name soon enough. A very enjoyable and thought-provoking show.