See article in its original context here by Liza Dezfouli for artsHub.
Jane Miller’s True Love Travels on a Gravel Road opens with young ingénue Maggie asking the audience a question – is any of what is about to happen her fault?
Taking the title of an Elvis song as its name, this play asks big questions about romance, showing how fantasies of love can create monsters of us all. True Love Travels on a Gravel Road offers a range of comic characters in a small town that find themselves victims of a farcical heist gone wrong, a blundered would-be crime committed for love by Jake (Glen van Oosterom).
Jake and Maggie (Emily Goddard, radiant in the role) are lovers. Each is ‘a little bit out of step’. Jake wants to make Elvis fan Maggie happy by fulfilling her dream of visiting Graceland. But as Maggie’s embittered single mum Glenda observes, theirs is a match made in a sheltered workshop. Maggie is married for a start. Jake’s not the brightest boy in town and his prospects are small. The phrase ‘giving it all up for love’ is put on its feet here in a nicely structured, very funny play, which treats all its characters with affection.
Trying to prove himself as something more than a ‘tard’ leads Jake on a hopeless course to acquire the money to take Maggie away. A secondary story hinges around Jake’s boss, Sam (Chris Broadstock), and his practical wife Angie (Marnie Gibson), exploring the consequences of their inability to admit vulnerability to each other.
This production, tightly directed by Beng Oh, enjoys standout performances from Goddard and Liz McColl, who crackles and sparks as Glenda – she has many hilarious lines to work with and makes super use of her natural funniness. However, to my mind, Glenda became stuck on the one subject and I would like to see her comment more broadly. Glenda is reflected on stage by petty crim Richard (David Kambouris), bringing a nice comic timing and oddly sympathetic presence to his hapless gun-dealing dog owner roped into a small town drama.