Perseverance Street Theatre Company. Gympie. March 2024

In their mission statement, Gympie based Perseverance Street Theatre Company state they want to create theatre with an “authentic connection to people and place”. Grit fulfils this mission statement. This theatre company has struck a rich seam of gold in a town that allegedly ran out years ago. This particular nugget of culture is like a rock in the river of time. It fixes both in time and place our hopes and dreams. 

Grit is also a masterclass in what theatre can achieve at a grassroots level. It’s also a great example as to the rise and standard of Independent Theatre in Australia at the moment. 

The script and lyrics were written by the core company (Sharon Hogan, Sofie Abbey, Fletcher Colfs and Sarah Harvey). They have created a tight script that works on all levels. Grit is a series of six vignettes fused and melded with songs that examine the hopes, dreams, strengths, failings, foibles and resilience of everyday people in an everyday town. Everyone has a story. It was so refreshing to see some of them released and shared (I believe these six vignettes are composites of about 30 local verbatim stories collected). And therein lies its strength – a ruthless honesty. The end result is sad, poignant, funny, real, bright, grey and “gritty”. And that’s because life is sad, poignant, funny, real, bright, grey and “gritty”. It was a real slice of life therefore impossible not to connect with honest stories such as these. 

Director Sharon Hogan presented the audience with the intelligent, layered world of true theatre.  In lesser hands this could have become a self-indulgent, over sentimental melodrama. Instead, it is a truly cathartic and aesthetic experience. It makes that lonely voice in your head scream “I know people like this. I’ve been people like this. It’s you, it’s me, it’s us. This town is your town, my town, their town, our town. I am not alone!”. For 75 mins you are immersed and engaged by Grit

Fletcher Colfs is the storyteller. He plays all six characters (the Saint, the Recluse, the Romantic, the Nomad, the Rationalist and the Runaway). He gave a wonderfully controlled performance. He kept it real and brought an honesty to all six characters – regardless of age or gender. 

An excellent, well-rounded performance balance of technique, credibility and talent. Some of the most powerful moments came from his natural underplaying. Subtlety is the antidote to melodrama. 

Ben Adams, Abby Bowyer, Sarah Harvey were a genuine chorus. They were there when needed both physically and verbally.  They did so much more than sing. Whether occasionally verbally fleshing out the script, or ethereally haunting the space, they were always there. Disciplined and giving. The singing itself was rich and textured with exquisite harmonies. The vocal work shown by all three members of the chorus was worth the admission price alone.

The music that was actually composed for this project by Alex Harvey, was perfect for this project. When combined with the lyrics these songs succinctly caught the emotional resonance of each scene therefore giving them all a strange familiarity. 

The production itself (lights, set etc) itself was simplistic, practical, compact and therefore highly mobile. And so it should be – “Grit” has been touring Queensland for the last few months and hopefully touring more places in the future.

Hopefully so many more people can get to experience this little pearl of a production. Go and see it. You can then tell your friends you know what good looks like. 

Simon Denver

Photograph by Mimi Tann

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.