In her solo show debut, Narie Foster explores the definitions of belonging and freedom, and the relationship between the two notions. 1 in a Chameleon is a funny and sincere journey to self-acceptance.

Foster enters the space awkwardly, unsure of how to position herself, which turns out to be an ingenious way to bond with the audience. She takes inspiration from their postures to reshuffle herself to better belong to the “club” (the venue). Her confidently awkward presence makes the audience feel comfortable with her direct interactions.

Foster cleverly escalates the concept of “club”, from the venue to interest clubs, to social identity groups.

American, Irish, Canadian, Thai, engineer, entrepreneur, woman… these are the clubs that Foster is part of, but does she belong in them?

Before she resolves the identity crisis, she is confronted with another question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how free are you intuitively?” Foster recreates moments of her life where she had felt freedom at each value. Her genuine and emotional storytelling compels the audience to root for her that she will one day experience freedom at 10.

Foster is naturally hilarious. The way she interprets reality is insightful and fascinating. Her transitions between audience interactions and scripted scenes are seamless and swift.

I had never been on stage for longer than ten minutes.

Throughout the show, in moments of self-doubt, Foster repeatedly reminds the audience it is her theatre debut. She is met with a supportive crowd.

During a scene change towards the end of the performance, she checks her wristwatch. Realising she has gone over time, she informs us that it would be a good point to leave if we are in a hurry. This consideration is admirable, but disrupts the flow of the narrative and her energy. Foster begins to forget her lines and walks back and forth to check the script.

Though imperfect, her beautifully written words remain powerful in her raw and honest performance. Her answers to the big questions are inspiring and moving.

1 in a Chameleon is being presented again on February 28 at My Lover Cindi. Further performances will be at Holden Street Theatres (March 2 and 3) and The Jade (March 5 and 7).

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

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