THIS is a quirky, promising Fringe debut from Australian newcomer Anne Edmonds, a misfit who’s turned her banjo-playing and rejection into a diverting, early afternoon hour.
Anne Edmonds in My Banjo’s Name is Steven
Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 300)
Star rating: * * *
Accompanied by keyboardist Amy Bennett, it’s a while before Edmonds actually straps on the eponymous Steven, probably because her mastery of him undermines the low self-esteem she projects.
The much-maligned black sheep of her family, with the capacity to let herself be horribly humiliated in a nightclub, she confirms her klutz credentials with a well-sung portrait of the hungover, burger-gorging incident in which she wrote off her car. Fleeing to the country, she tried to cheer herself up by joining a rowdy netball team, but bullied and alienated, snuck back to Melbourne after a spectacular, bridge-burning number of calculated vengeance, clinically reprised here.
Her unhinged mania for an Australian TV drama; a degrading swimming pool evacuation and her first, stuttering steps in comedy, all of these are related with a rictus grin of have-a-go defiance.
Edmonds can overplay the persecuted ingénue too much, with a likeable, girl-next-door quality that she may need to adapt in future.
• Until 27 August. Today 12:10pm.