The Les Robinson Story & Belle of the Cross-Review

This is SITCO's last play of the season and the last one at the Old Fitz as they move on to pastures new. But what a great year they have had with many great shows. 

They have ended the year with two locally based plays each just 50 minutes in length. They are both similar in format, in that they are almost monologues, and theme they are both about local Sydney characters and both living a homeless life.

The Les Robinson Story is based on on the life of Les Robinson who was a idiosyncratic Sydney short story writer and freelance journalist. The play is written by award winning Melbourne play write Kieran Carroll. 

Les was born in 1886, as a young man he took various jobs, but work didn't suit him and he preferred a bohemian life. He spent most of his life living in a shack and caves around Sydney and he spent most of his time writing, fishing and listening to an old gramophone that he placed on the rocks. He wrote one book The Giraffes Uncles.
Les played by Martin Portus re-tells and acts out parts of his life. Martin plays an admirable Les, but I personally didn't warm or particularly feel compassion towards the character. However I know there were audience members who did. It did highlight the fact that if you don't quite fit into society, if you don't conform to the norm then you can lead a very lonely existance, which Les did for much of his life.

Belle of the Cross however was very different, right from the reading of the article in the paper I was sucked in. It was compelling writing and another admirable performance by Gertraud Ingeborg who played Belle. Belle is an old lady who dies in a doorway in Kings Cross after living on the streets. We don't know how long she lived on the streets for. Belle takes the audience through some of her live on the streets and her friends. She attend's Roses funeral which was incredibly moving even though the audience never meets Rose, it nearly brought me to tears. With so many homeless people still living in and around Kings Cross this play really brought home some of the issues and solitude. It was very moving.

Belle is written by Angelika Fremd who lived for eight years in Kings Cross and volunteered at the Wayside Chapel, though Belle is a fictional character it is clear that those eight years had a great impact on her life.

This production is playing at the Old Fitzroy until 29 November. For more information click here