Review: ‘Mint Condition’ might just be the most Melbourne show we’ve ever seen

Review: ‘Mint Condition’ might just be the most Melbourne show we’ve ever seen

Words by Tom Parker

Telling the story of Audrey, a lady who’s moved from Sydney to Melbourne to open up a record store.

There’s a new short web series on the block and it could very well be the most Melbourne show we’ve ever seen. Starring renowned Australian actors Sibylla Budd (Audrey), Bernard Curry (Vince Taylor), Gary Sweet (Conway) and rising talent Grace Champion as Deanna, Mint Condition follows the ambitious seachange of the show’s primary character Audrey, who has just relocated from Sydney to Melbourne to open up her own record store.

Leaving her Sydney life behind where her ex-partner, and father of Deanna, resides, Audrey’s gamble isn’t just steeped in the peril of opening up a record store but also shifting the life of her adolescent 14-year-old daughter.

In the first of five episodes, the series begins with the early introduction of a brusque former rock star Vince Taylor, who intends to sell a crate full of records at Audrey’s just-opened record shop, Mint Condition, at a 50-50 cut. Audrey is wide-eyed and excited at the prospect of some business and accepts the deal. But when Guy, an egotistic businessman, attempts to rip Audrey off in order to upsell the vinyl himself, the fiery temperament of Taylor is revealed.

Just as Guy is about to dance away with the records, Taylor creates a commotion as he battles them back off him. Before Audrey can even get comfortable in her own residence, she’s forced to become quickly acquainted with the delinquents that frequent her neighbourhood.

Yet it’s the protective and toughened nature of Taylor that allures Audrey, and he quickly becomes the budding record store owner’s closest ally.

From there, we are taken on an emotional journey through the difficulties of orientation and past and present relationships. Both Audrey and Deanna are shouldering parallel burdens and it’s the friction caused by the tug and pull of these that sees them battle. When Deanna, aka De De, goes missing and threatens to leave, the reality of the situation quickly hits home with Audrey and she offers for her daughter to return to Sydney and live with her father.

But when De De makes the brave decision to stick strong and remain in Melbourne, the relationship slowly begins to open up.

Episode three is a concept episode of sorts and stars Gary Sweet as Conway. The father of Audrey, the episode is easily the series’ most gripping and it’s only at the very end that we realise Conway’s presence is but a ghost.

Across the 11 minutes, Audrey and Conway trade dialogue about past grievances as Conway apathetically explores her record shop. There’s struggles in father abandonment and the love rooted in Audrey’s half of the relationship. They certainly don’t see eye-to-eye but right at the episode’s closure, a resounding realisation surfaces – Conway has passed away and his presence is in fact an apparition.

The episode closes with Deanna walking in on a teary Audrey, who’s love for Conway is unwaning.

The ambitiousness of Audrey sees her shoulder a number of roles throughout Mint Condition. Not only a record store owner and mother, her eagerness to extend her music curiosity and start a record label, awakens an empowering nature in her.

Taylor, a former member of the renowned band Elemental Child, has his own battles with his past music career – one that was evidently turbulent and strewn with misfortune. Becoming a mother-like figure, Audrey attempts to motivate Taylor to capitalise on some demos he’s been working on privately. One thing leads to another and he suddenly has a slot on PBS, but when Audrey insists that he upload his music to Bandcamp following the live-to-air performance, Taylor is quick to shrug it off.

Across its five episodes, Mint Condition not only accurately portrays the volatile nature of running a business rooted in music but stands as a relevant embodiment of Melbourne culture – one that’s sure to resonate with music lovers across the city and beyond. Featuring music from only Australian artists, the likes of Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission, Jade Imagine, The Pink Tiles, Charles Jenkins, Raised by Eagles, Cold Gold, The Meltdown, Hearts and Rockets and more soundtrack the series.

This is a true celebration of Melbourne, and one that could light a spark within viewers in need of a change, or those who are maybe too comfortable within their comfort zone.

Here’s to season two!

You can now watch Mint Condition via the web series’ website.

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