/ ADLFringe16

Big Enough and Ugly Enough

At 25 years old, James McLean realises it's about time he shifts out of his parents' place in Adelaide, moves to Melbourne, and joins the CIA (Competent Independent Adults).

Sadly, his grandmother dies just before he emigrates. She leaves him a letter and a "box of crap". Together, these provide the guidance McLean needs to get out there and experience something new. Sure, they're not all great experiences. Mistaking a swingers club for a swing dancing club, for example. Getting attacked by a panther in the forest. Doing an unintentionally good turn for an untrustworthy individual on the tram.

The most important lesson comes at the end of this quasi-autobiographical show. I won't spoil it by giving the game away, but it's a sweet moment.

Big Enough and Ugly Enough has a well-structured narrative, with McLean's storytelling skill displayed both through song and a series of character-driven vignettes. The songs have a charmingly musical theatre bent to them. He portrays the diverse and weird folk he meets along the way well, but my favourite part was his recorded voiceover taking the role of his grandma.

It is all a bit silly. Some of the stories are credible, but others verge on absurdist. Ignoring the implausibility factor though, there's something we can all connect with. It's certainly a show for us almost-adults who are still trying to figure how we're supposed to do life.

Speaking of growing up, the whole production does have a bit of a 'drama school' feeling about it. You can imagine McLean coming up with some parts of the script while doing exercises in class. Not that this is a bad thing in itself, it just feels like he's still transitioning from student to professional.

Big Enough and Ugly Enough is thoroughly enjoyable, particularly if you're able to suspend disbelief for an hour. You'll walk out happy, reminiscing about all the shitty life choices you've made along the way that make you who you are.

★★★

Jen St Jack

Jen St Jack

Follow me if you want to see some of the best damn theatre Adelaide Fringe has ever seen, and buy me a drink after.

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