Yes! We were Really Really Really Happy Right Now to attend this performance that was postponed due the state of Victoria being placed yet again in Stage 4 Lockdown. And in keeping with the well-known words from Oscar Wilde that “life imitates art far more than art imitates life” (The Decay of Lying - 1891), there were more challenges to come for the actors on Tuesday nights’ show. Having comfortably settling in after COVID safe screening into our group Perspex booths, the show was abruptly interrupted by an announcement to vacate the venue. Expecting that this was part of the action, we dutifully trouped out – after all I was expecting elements of Commedia dell'arte! But, and feeling somewhat disappointed that this was not the case, the show then recommenced once the simple “technical problem” had been sorted out.
So, to the event itself – and taking into account the factors listed above - the performance seemed slow to start but the pace picked up to embrace a rollicking and farce-filled performance. The writer and co-producer Ellen Grimshaw only graduated in 2018 from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2018 with a Master in Writing for Performance to write this work at that time. Whilst the use of multiple on-stage personas is a standard device, some linking of the identities and characters could have been more clearly defined and could have enhanced their idiosyncrasies. But maybe this was intended to add to the chaos Ellen intended to create on stage?
A big “well done cast for soldiering on after the interruption at the start – what troopers indeed! They also need to be congratulated for the Herculean effort that they made to make Ellen’s pristine script work on stage – a lesser talented troupe may have struggled with some of the inconsistencies in character transitions and on-stage changeovers. Strangely, I did find the characters endearing and even likeable despite their obvious personal failings – maybe it was their humanity that made them so?
Most importantly, the time passed in a flash and actors were taking their bows in no time at all – and this is always an indicator of a “good” show for me. Given that this is the show’s debut and Ellen is a newcomer to this craft, she will certainly benefit from the opportunity to stage this work and fine tune some of the elements of not only writing plays but transforming the written word into action on stage.
Rating: 3/5 (with scope for improvement!)
Location: Theatreworks: 14 Ackland Street, St Kilda VIC 3182
Dates: 24 February - 6 March 2020
Times: 7.30pm or 5pm (see website for details)
Duration: 90 minutes
Prices: $77 - $92 per group
Please note: When booking, you will be booking an entire booth for you and your party. These are all group bookings. Small booths will accommodate 2-3 patrons, large booths will accommodate 4-6.
To ensure the comfort and safety of our audiences, artists and staff we have put together a COVID-Safe plan. This work will be presented as part of our new 'Glasshouse' remodel, a COVID-Safe initiative that seats audience in individual Perspex booths of up to six people. Each show of the WPRRHRN season will have open captions. Due to unforeseen circumstances our Auslan interpreted performances are unable to be interpreted. Captioning still remains the same for all performances.