I catch Penny Arcade’s solo performance Longing Lasts Longer on a hot summer’s night during The Adelaide Fringe. As I enter the big top, Penny is already in the ring. She sports a hot pink dress and equally hot hair and lips. Mouth elastic, laughing and cajoling she bellows into her mic, welcoming us while dancing to a mash up of pop and rock. I’ve barely taken my seat and I can’t take my eyes off her.
What follows is a high intensity monologue/diatribe/sermon/protest/dance-a-thon. It’s a captivating style. A combination of swagger, vocal mastery and fist pumping, punctuated by pauses when Penny grins at the audience, shrugs and dances to the ever-flowing underscore of music.
Spanning topics such as cultural amnesia, nostalgia, individuality, the counterculture, free speech and ageism, Penny leaves me gasping and cheering for more. Above all, what resonates is Penny Arcade’s voice. She has an authenticity and uniqueness of voice that stops people in their tracks. It’s the one thing every writer and theatre-maker aspires towards – and only a few achieve.
Interview and photos by Cynthia Sciberras
Words by Melita Rowston