Mark Alan Lee and Maddie Pottinger of Madd World Productions.

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Madd World Productions tackles themes of love and loss in its latest production. Life of the Party is showing as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Charlie is a jovial recent newlywed who must deal with the loss of the effervescent Anna, the love of his life. With the assistance of two other worldly friends, Salus and Lues, he attempts to navigate his journey through grief and depression. But with these burdensome companions more manipulative than helpful, Charlie is struggling with depression without really understanding it.

“I wanted to try and relieve the stigmas of depression… and raise awareness of the issues that surround it,” explained Mark Alan Lee, who wrote the play in addition to playing the tormented protagonist.

Mark wrote the original script as a one-act play back in his college days in the UK. Recently rediscovering the script with the help of his partner and co-star Maddie Pottinger, who also founded Madd World productions, he has developed it into a roughly one hour show.

Mark’s real-life girlfriend Maddie steps into the shoes of his character’s dearly departed wife Anna for this production. He explained that despite the “tragic, harrowing” themes of Charlie and Anna’s story, he found playing opposite Maddie rather easy. “We’ve not had to work for that building of a relationship… it’s still a lot of work… [but] I found it really enjoyable actually,” said Mark.

Life of the Party tackles dark and heavy themes, yet balances this with hints of humour and lightness found in intimate scenes between the romantic leads and traditional theatrical devices.

September 9–13. Erskineville Town Hall, 104 Erskineville Road, Erskineville. $17.50-$22. Tickets & info: sydneyfringe.com or 02 9550 6087