Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (reviewed closing night 23 September)

Riveting relationship drama gets a make-over with this powerful independent work by Brisbane-based performer Rose Treloar.

The premise is straightforward: two people meet, fall in love, and begin co-habitating in pre-martial bliss, until their once-cute-but-now-annoying habits begins to grate on each other’s nerves. It leads to heated discussions and debate that gradually escalates to super-sonic screaming matches. Now everything the other does is viewed with annoyance and suspicion, leading them to walk on eggshells as they navigate the toxic minefield of their passionate yet volatile relationship. It’s a familiar pattern that many audience members will recognise; Treloar’s script provides a raw, honest autopsy of a dysfunctional relationship fuelled by drama, pain, and addiction to being with the other person, and calling it ‘love’.

Watch Me Sleep alludes to the only time each other seems calm, peaceful and ‘real’, without all the drama. There’s no expectation of any kind of transaction or mutual benefit when one watches the other sleeping.

Rose Treloar, who wrote, directed and co-produced the show, plays Ava. Alex Kaan (also from Brisbane) plays Emmett. Upon entering the setting at Meraki Arts Bar, one immediately sees them lying in bed together. The audience is intimately packed tight, the air tingling with anticipation.

Every artistic choice is spot on, from the script to the costuming to the casting. It’s incredibly alarming just how painfully accurate and humorous this show is. One might guess the actors “have been there” in their own relationships to deliver such authentic performances, yet, to be honest, I think we all have (I certainly can relate!). The bravery and professionalism of Treloar and Kaan is to be highly commended, depicting intimacy, love, lust, vulnerability and fear with distinction and perfect comedic timing.

The audience thoroughly enjoyed this show, judging by the frequent laughter and well deserved standing ovation. After a successful run at Brisbane Fringe and now Sydney Fringe, this show will hopefully be seen by more audiences around the country.

Watch Me Sleep, presented by Sydney Fringe, played at Meraki Arts Bar from 19 – 23 September.

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