The Beep Test @ The Studio at Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh SA 28/2023

After months of pouring their blood, sweat and tears into training, the class of Year 7C are ready to compete in The Beep Test. The P.E. test that sparks fear in school children generates mixed emotions among its four determined participants in Year 7C.

Last year’s champion, Zach (Josh Reckless), is eager to win again. Jane (Sara Reed) is prepared to beat him. The academically superior Sandra (Jo Jabalde) is desperate to prove they are physically capable as they are intellectual. While Cooper (Jack Keen), with his sore shoulder, just doesn’t want to finish last. Encouraging, and occasionally discouraging, them is Sir (Lachie Hewson). With a love of all things footy, especially “James Hird, the captain of Essendon”, Sir’s enthusiasm is disturbingly humorous.

Writers Neylon & Peele (Conor and Jackson) admit “the show is ridiculous”. It is. But it is ridiculous laced with comedic genius and intelligent writing.

The set is simple. A basketball half-court with lockers to one side and music director-accompanist Mark Bradley with his keyboard on the other. The simplicity is effectual. Focus is directed to the cast and narrative while establishing a time and place.

Across the span of an hour, we are taken on a journey via inspirational song, spectacular dance, and a lot of running. One that transcends The Beep Test and captures what it is like to be in Year 7. To have a crush, feel parental pressures, and be popular and unpopular.

Reckless and Reed exemplify Zack and Jane’s rivalry with believability. Jabalde and Keen bring hilarity to Sandra and Cooper’s complexities. Hewson is a stand-out with his mullet and mo. We join him on the crest of an intricate wave of emotion through character development and an unexpected plot twist. A testament to Peele’s magnificent narrative.

The Beep Test is a relatable mini-musical that will make you cringe from past P.E. trauma while simultaneously laughing out loud. It is the true gem of the 2023 Adelaide Fringe.

Fringe Review By Anita Kertes

For tickets and show information for The Beep Test head to FringeTix

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