So, okay, off the top here’s my recommendation – go along and see Not Today and fall in love with the zany personality that is the essence of talented performer Ally Morgan. She often talks fast – mighty fast. She is anxious and passionate about climate change, which she is keen to “fix” in just a few years and she wants to inspire us to help.
We learn this and also learn that she turned 26 a week ago and the COVID-19 lockdown has taken a toll on her. Her partner told her to see a therapist, so six weeks ago she made an appointment and now there on her laptop is the psychologist. The latter wants to diagnose her (and does), but all Ally wants is to talk about climate change and how to prevent the global situation from worsening. And yet she ends up talking about a whole heap more, after agreeing to undertake a meditation session as part of her consultation.
Suddenly, she is confronted by us (it is at that point that the house lights are turned up) – yes, a real audience that she has been keen to write a show for. She speaks fondly of her grandmother, whose ashes are contained in a small floral container, which appears on a stand on stage alongside a three-bulb lamp stand and next to her electric guitar and keyboard.
In fact, the stage is funky – elliptical and glossy silver with lots of “stuff” on it. Apart from what I have already referenced, I speak of a coffee table with plants and a mug, a green armchair with a couple of pillows and a throw … and balloons. A massive white screen backdrop surrounds the stage and spills onto the ground surrounding it.
Ally gives of herself … all the time. She interacts with the audience. Patron involvement is part of the joy. The voice of the psychologist asks her to clear her mind and suddenly Ally diverts to the “mindfulness” capital of Australia. She reveals what she does for a living and how sometimes she likes it and other times not so much. Asked to touch on her hobbies, Ally struggles … until her 10-year-old self appears.
The psychologist quizzes her about her partner, who she isn’t keen to elaborate on. Eventually she does – towards the end of the piece, long after she has spoken about her sexuality. A delightful singalong draws the curtain on the energetic, often frenzied Ally. It gives voice to why the show is called Not Today.
Through 60 minutes Ally showcases just how adept she is at playing a variety of instruments. They include a classical guitar and electric ukulele, along with the previously mentioned electric guitar and keyboard. All are accompanied by strong, lyrical vocals, for music is a vital ingredient in the production. Ally has a delightful singing voice. I particularly appreciated her ballads.
She is a bundle of boundless energy and seemingly random thoughts and ideas. Best of all, she is not afraid to expose herself and her insecurities and hopes. Ally is not one to hold back and we are undoubtedly the beneficiaries of that. There is a great deal of warmth and laughter in the room. She wholeheartedly deserves the applause she receives. Written and performed by Ally Morgan, Not Today is directed by Miranda Middleton. It is playing at Theatre Works until 30th April, 2022.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Amity Dry’s 39 Forever (Chapel off Chapel) – theatre review
- Autocannibal (Theatre Works)
- Perpetual Frustration Machine (Theatre Works) – theatre review
Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.