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Review: Plenty of Fish in the Sea, Sydney Fringe

Rating:

An absurdist tale with minimal dialogue is one of the most refreshing and strange stage experiences in years

Set in a fishing village in France, a nun and her assistant go fishing in Saint-Cotriade and eventually pull out…a human man. Speaking English and confused about how he got there and what their intentions are with him, there is a clear challenge in their communication and connection. Living in a strange monastery, he learns bit by bit about his captors as they instruct him how to fish and become involved in making their fish soup, that appears to have wild and special powers.

It’s a wild and strange play this is infused with dark humour and makes clear a comment about finding the perfect catch and the tension between sexuality and religious conservatism. Inspired by the works of Kafka and Beckett, you can feel the dream-state on stage, with moving set pieces and musical cues. 

Emily Ayoub is a brilliant lead as the nun, with a wide breadth of expressions throughout. Madeline Baghurst has a little less to work with as the assistant, but still comes across as sly and working with her own intensions in mind. Christopher Samuel Carroll is brilliant as the man trying to understand this new world and his place in it.

Conceived and directed by Ayoub and Baghurst, it feels like a dream come to life in real time, reminding us about yearning for love and discovering it in strange places. A gem of a play, Plenty of Fish seems to make allusions to the online dating scene that plagues us by portraying a society of women and the strange ongoings upon a man entering it. Yet it’s also about religion and sexual liberation, the mundanity of small town life and a fable about…you decide what. That’s what makes it a joy to watch and experience.

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