In Vivienne Walshe's updated take on Orpheus and Eurydice, Chloe (Shaelee Rooke) finds herself in another dead-end Australian town after her mother moves in with another deadbeat boyfriend. Brash, sexy, and illiterate, Chloe soon catches the attention of the aloof, French-Symbolist–reading Chris (Oliver de Rohan), and from this attraction of opposites blooms an intimate story of first love and loss. The script borrows only the bare bones from the Greeks, much to its benefit. There’s no mythical underworld that Chloe and Chris need escape from: Theirs is a hell founded on a fear of stasis and predetermination, and the only escape they can see is through each other. Walshe’s verse, which jumps between lyrical odes and onomatopoeic beat poetry, is what gives the piece its punch; the vast stylistic contrast between the two characters magnifies the delicate similarities she gives them along the way. Rooke and de Rohan do an excellent job in catching these moments, which leaves us rooting for their earnest, fragile romance throughout the show's brisk sixty minutes. Add in a tight lighting plot, an effectively minimal set, and Alec Fellows-Bennett’s crisp staging and you have a fringe show worth looking back on.—Chris Corbo
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