The most impressive thing about How To Get Rich is the first thing you notice when you sit down; a pair of actual airline chairs sitting on stage. They were apparently leant to the production by Virgin airlines and with the large monitor make up a simple but luxurious looking Fringe set. My main mistake was not paying attention to the show’s blurb in the programme. So that it did not turn out to be a wealth creating seminar spoof but was actually a one woman play about going to get a man called Richard.
That was it really, Aleisha McCormack, the writer performer of the piece was on a plane going to the UK to meet up with a man she’d fallen for over the internet and was anxious about how it was going to turn out. The story itself was a bit too thin, we learned nothing about why she loved Richard, apart from his reliability, of how their love blossomed over the 5 months they’d been skyping or what really motivated Aleisha to spend a lot of money and to risk a new job and humiliation to go to the other side of the world to meet a man. The moral of this tale seems to be that getting a man is the most important reason to do anything.
Most of the play involves Aleisha on a plane chatting to the person next to her about her life and anxieties. She has broken this up by playing a couple of characters, her aunty and her friend who are both rather vulgar characters and are less than supportive. I guess they are there to make you feel sorry for Aleisah and be on her side, but I found her selfish character so annoying that it was very hard for me to sympathise with her situation.
Another thing that broke up the performance was a surprise guest appearance on the monitor (sadly not used to provide samples of her skyping with Rich) by ‘Australian media personality’ Deborah Hutton who sort of acts as a guardian angel to Aleisha who dreams of being a TV presenter. It’s Deborah who finally gives Aleisha the sensible advice to stop worrying and if things don’t work out she should just get on with her life.
This was a pretty light and fluffy soufflé of a show that would suit a girls’ night out or hen’s night, but it left me hungry for something a bit meatier. I really wanted to like this show but the laughs that were there were not enough to make up for its shortcomings. A major aspect that lost me was her brazilian waxing story. I know they titillate the crowd but after several years of these tales, it’s getting a bit tiresome. They seem to be becoming the female equivalent of a male comedian talking about his dick.
I know that as a reviewer, you’re not supposed to imagine what the play was not, but if the first half had been more about why and how Aleisha was on the plane, with a more compelling backstory and then only after the crisis of his lack of communication in Thailand the alarm bells started going off in the last part, it would have been much more dramatically interesting, instead of things going back and forth all the way through.
I’m guessing that this show is so autobiographical, (these things did actually happen to Aleisha) that it might be a bit hard for her to see the wood for the trees. Most experienced comedians know that if life isn’t that interesting that you can take ‘dramatic licence’ to pep it up. Still for a debut Fringe Festival show it was fairly polished and entertaining enough for a mainstream crowd.
This show has finished its run
Here’s the info about it http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/how-to-get-rich/