Review | ‘How To Drown A Fish’ a gay romp for romcom fans

How To Drown A Fish | Girls School | til Feb 7 | ★ ★ ★ 

This is a romcom, a genre I’m not a fan of. I usually find romantic comedies predictable and the storylines quite bland and How to Drown a Fish fell squarely into its genre. One modern, affirming point of difference is that the main characters in this romance are both female and the rest of their crew are all on board with this.

Esha Jessy brings a wonderfully fun, quirky take on Pat, the swimming supervisor, bringing comic relief with her humorous facial expressions. Her lively and energetic performance, as she sashays on and off the miniscule stage, provide a welcome contrast to the many awkward moments between the central characters.

Katherine Hooker, playing main character Abby, performed some of the more realistic, believable characterisation of the night. She’s leaned right into the role, showing empathy for the anxiety experienced by Abby.

Campbell Williamson brings many light-hearted, entertaining moments playing Rich, a well meaning yet a little off-centre lifeguard.

Most of the performances were overemphasized and resulted in the characters becoming caricatures rather than everyday people we could relate to. Historically, live acting required exaggerations of movement, voice and expressions in order to be seen by larger audiences. But this is a very small venue where these extravagances are not necessary. Subtleties would be picked up by the audience. There is no subtlety, no nuance, in the attraction expressed by Abby and Jamie from the outset, giving no credit to an audiences ability to discern less obvious expressions of this type of romantic interest. It also made the storyline, that they’re both unaware of the other’s attraction, somewhat flimsy. Considering these scenes formed the majority of the play, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the direction of the cast.

The show was well rehearsed and well planned. The team have done well to create and perform this 50 minute piece in the micro space provided to them. They’ve used minimal props very effectively. The sound production was flawless.

I’m still left wondering about the title of the play. Apart from the fact it’s set at a pool, I see no obvious reason why it’s called How to Drown a Fish.

See How To Drown A Fish until Sunday 7th February. For tickets and more information, head to fringeworld.com.au

Halimah Halse is currently freelance writer and marriage celebrant. She has been involved in the arts, politics and LGBTQI+ communities for many years.

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