Diaries are a sacred thing. Deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets are often written without an intended audience; they harbour our true selves from different points in our past. Andi Snelling has had a diary since she was nine years old, and in ‘#DearDiary’ she has conceived a show inspired by 23 years of dreams, goals, observations, heartfelt moments, tragedy, and delight. What results is a moving piece — powerful in presentation, expertly performed and driven, and quite possibly one of the most standout solo shows of the Melbourne Fringe Festival this year.
When the opening night of the production closed with a standing ovation, it was easy to see why. This is a performer who has mastered how to present their vulnerabilities from their past. The show goes from highlighting the naiveté and misplaced confidence of youth, to the complexity of emotional situations and lack of worldly experience. Andi maintains and sustains such a tight control of her characterisation of her identity that you are swept in from the moment she appears out of her trunk right until her sweet monologue that caps off her show.
Her masterful facial expressions are a significant highlight to the show: phenomenal, captivating, and consistently inducing the right response from the audience. It is a performance that is not afraid to mix up its pace and style, including some experimentation with abstract portrayals of her past and a touch of audience participation. One cannot help but be curious for what next piece of exposure is about to come.
To walk away from a show contemplating your own version of what it would be like to revisit your own past selves is a sure sign that this is performance art that has meaning with a successful impact. There was very little indication from Andi’s diary that acting and writing were outset goals, but thankfully the journey the audience observed has led to the creation of this show. With a performer so strong and so grounded only great things and success in this business can be the future diary entries that lie ahead.
Corey M. Glamuzina is a Melbourne-based actor, writer, improvisor and comedian with an avid involvement in the art of theatre and film.
‘#DearDiary’ runs from 23-27 September, 7pm (50mins) at The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne. The venue is not accessible.