A pregnant 16-year-old who drinks too much; a gullible, ditsy hand model; a rambling geek with poor social skills; a meathead with too many STDs. At the centre of it all, a mother. Morgana O’Reilly, star of
Terri’s secret shame about settling down becomes apparent in her self-debasing humour and overly optimistic attitude, made strikingly real by O’Reilly’s exceptional acting.
O’Reilly shows a broad and believable range of characterisations. The cigarette-smoking, alcohol-guzzling 16-year-old Anna Louise is a Vicky Pollard knock-off who would feel at home on Jeremy Kyle, while wimpy shy-guy Nathan is the subject of ridicule for his socially awkward tendencies and nerdy lexicon. Duncan is laddish, while Katie spearheads the dumb blonde stereotype as a woman who has probably reads too much into alternative medicine and is easily taken advantage of. At the heart of everything is the mother, Terri, and her broken dreams. The Height of The Eiffel Tower is effective in capturing the life of a woman burdened by her family. Terri’s secret shame about settling down becomes apparent in her self-debasing humour and overly optimistic attitude, made strikingly real by O’Reilly’s exceptional acting. Her hopes and aspirations are overshadowed by the experiences of her university companion Rachel, whose life of travel and excitement threatens Terri’s self-esteem and sense of importance. Ironically, as O’Reilly informs her audience, the play was written to help O’Reilly travel.
The character transitions are handled perfectly for a one woman show. These are complemented by lighting marking a change in character, scene, and atmosphere. There is no excessive use of props, nor is there any dependency upon extra stage features: just acting, pure and simple.
There are some small ineptitudes which limit the plausibility of the play. In the early stages there is a little confusion on who is who until the characters are established, making the plot difficult to follow. The Eiffel Tower motif is not introduced early enough, reducing the relevance of the title. Despite these minor shortcomings, the play is solid from start to finish. Professional, but without taking itself too seriously, The Height of The Eiffel Tower is as charming as it is intimate, instilling hope in its characters and audience alike.