This is my second go-around with Meanwhile Gallery as a theatre venue (I reviewed another show there for NZ Fringe 2022), and I have to say that after this show I have a bit of a soft spot for it. It’s just a gallery, not something built to be a theatre venue; it doesn’t have any stage lighting, but it doesn’t need it either. Ladanyi works with a lamp and with the light of the early evening, and it’s perfect. There is a truly beautiful moment at the beginning of the show when Ladanyi closes a window that, until now, I hadn’t even realised was open, and there is something about the way that the sounds of the outside world are shut out that makes you think, Oh, yes, that’s right – we’re right here. The space is an important element in this show; it’s not meant to be invisible. One of my favourite features in this gallery is the second window, the one that is bricked over, and Ladanyi turns our minds back to it, casting it as a bar or as a supermarket shelf. We are in the world of the work, yes, but we are here, too, in this room, and that’s the point.
Ladanyi is a great performer. He is wistful and considered, of course, but he is also funny and charming, and his moments of intense quiet are cycled with bursts of equally intense energy. It’s hard to know in this piece where Ladanyi’s influence ends and director James Cain’s influence begins, but either way, the pairing works. This is a monologue-style work, and we follow Ladanyi through vignettes of memory, seeing, gradually, how they all fit together. And this is the point I think: how everything fits together. How sometimes, as Ladanyi puts it, ‘if not for the wrong place, wrong time, there might never be a right place, right time’.
If you’re after something intimate and reflective in the midst of the chaos that is Fringe, then this is the show for you.
Where the Water Lies is showing at Meanwhile Gallery at 5:45pm until Saturday, 25 February. Book your tickets on the Fringe website.