The conceit of How's Your Acting Going? is a simple one that I’m sure many in the creative fields can relate to – every Tom, Dick and Harry feels the need to ask how your career is going, then offer unwanted advice.
If you have to write a show about it, perhaps you're getting asked for a reason.
Writer and actor Louise O'Dwyer performs a series of vignettes, playing a daggy uncle at a family barbecue, an old Steiner school teacher, a vague therapist, and herself in three forms – director, auditioning actor and... witch? It's not really clear.
Despite the apparently simple concept, this show is utterly lacking in cohesion. After the first couple of characters pop the question and offer their advice, as per formula, things just go off the rails.
An attempt at audience interaction makes no sense whatsoever, with a weird group therapy session pulling the train of thought away from the central character.
A particularly cringe worthy episode follows, when the character tries to invoke the spirits or perhaps exorcise her demons, going into a seizure, which the actor then breaks the fourth wall to try and explain, before a very awkward attempt at salvaging the piece when she forgets her lines.
The script is painfully slow. Most scenes are written as conversation, rather than monologue, leaving long pauses between the stilted lines. And each character is essentially the same person. They have their little quirks, some of which are charming or funny. But the script is just so evidently written in the same rambling, repetitive voice throughout.
According to the flyer, this show has had two 'hugely successful' seasons in Melbourne. It's hard to imagine how a show this lacking in polish and cohesion is not still in development.
The handful of other audience members were certainly generous with their laughter and applause, though. So perhaps I just didn't get it.