Moment-to-moment messages

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In a Moment (Tim Jackman and Tammy Tresillian)

“The trick is to enjoy the good and know that even the very, very bad … they’re just … moments.” This is the message at the core of the bittersweet and tender “In a Moment”. The mostly two-hander show, the second part of a special A Night at the Theatre with Anywhere Festival double bill of online readings as part of UQ Theatre Festival online, is full of personality but also a quiet and appealing dignity.

This aptly-titled tale is of an unlikely twenty-year friendship between an uptight accountant and a contemplative homeless man who share sandwiches and sagacity during their lunches sitting on a park bench. And while there is certainly no substitute for experiencing theatre in real life, the play is certainly still the thing, even if it is in the form of a reading, with skilled performers still able to bring out the intent, mood and characterisation of a piece. Tim Jackman, in particular, is excellent, conveying natural speech rhythms as he goes from quoting Oscar Wilde to offering comfort to his daily lunchtime companion. He not only physicalises his character, but he conveys the intentions of unseen stage directions, making the emotion of his earlier losses evident beneath the happiness he has with life living alone in a park. As his lunchtime companion, Tammy Tresillian brings the sandwiches and “Wuthering Heights” words to what becomes a twenty-year friendship that ultimately changes to course of both of their lives.

With effective dialogue, pacing and flow, the 60-minute show flies by what seems to be the shortest of times. Like the simplest of pleasures it advocates, it is funny and moving and full of small details that contribute to its quiet insight about the cycles of life and value of soulful connection. And even with its revisions, it is easy to appreciate the one act play’s long-listing for the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2015/16, following its successful seasons in Brisbane and Sydney, because if theatre is about human experience and relationships, then this is theatre at is simplest and most effective, that keeps its audience interested on a moment-to-moment basis. It hooks the audience immediately, and includes comforting surprises and discoveries along the way to its insightful ending, creating a powerful bond between its storyline, performers and audience.