Playwright Andy Hyman describes his two short plays as a screwball comedy and a farce. There is also a fair bit of philosophy, existentialism and Shakespearian overtones in these rather oddly paired pieces.
Presented by: Michaela Kalowski and Owl Farm Partnership with Darlinghurst Theatre CompanyVenue: Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney
Tuesday 26th July, 2011 Opening Night
Playwright Andy Hyman describes his two short plays as a screwball comedy and a farce. There is also a fair bit of philosophy, existentialism and Shakespearian overtones in these rather oddly paired pieces. Drake the Amazing is set in the early part of the 1900s with a travelling group of entertainers and is partially narrated by Astor (Andrew Johnston) who joins the group later in the story. The new recruit, Drake (Scott Sheridan) does dramatic monologues but is challenged constantly by Claudette (Kate Skinner) to be more exciting and reveal his non existent ‘secret’. Manager Neilson (Nicholas Papademetriou) explains Caludette’s past and Drake is finally pushed into the performance of his life, which happens to be Browning’s poem “Porphyria’s Lover” about a man who strangles a woman with her own hair. The comedy is quirky with some interesting dialogue and interactions. Not belly laugh stuff but amusing. Hyman employs some classic comedic techniques like making Neilson slightly deaf so he mishears amusingly and juxtaposing the characters of the domineering Caludette and nervous Drake (who naturally enough end up together). The performances were excellent from all the cast, including a lovely character portrayal by Papademetriou and a sustained energetic and effective MC by Johnston. The pace moved along and the storyline kept you interested until the end, although the supposedly knockout final performance by Drake could have been more effective without the interjected narrator’s comments. After interval La Dispute changed pace with a tale about an experiment concerning love and lust and the eternal question of innocence and betrayal. Would man or woman be true and loving if they had no other people to tempt them from the righteous path? Two couples Marie, Lucien, Mikael and Clio (Danielle Abi-Hanna, Ben Wood, Patrick Sherwood and Annaliese Szota) are arguing about faithfulness and love. They go to observe four young adults raised in isolation, with only a ‘nanny’ of sorts- Carise (Zoe Carides) who has allowed them to think they are the only person alive. These two girls Egle (Stacey Duckworth) and Adine (Polita Cameron) are this night introduced singly to two boys – Azor (Carl Batchelor) and Mesrin (Julian Curtis) Mesrin. They are enamoured of each other with seemingly simple and pure love. Hyman reflects Shakespeare’s Miranda -“ O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”. Then the experiment allows the couple to meet each other and innocence turns to betrayal and lust and mismatches. At times the action dragged through overly wordy interchanges. The piece was more gentle satire than straight out farce and raised many interesting questions and points of discussion about relationships and love. Again the cast were uniformly excellent, with delightful performances by the actors who played the innocents, including some amusing male bonding scenes by Curtis and Batchelor. Director John Kachoyan did a good job in bringing these two plays to the stage. They are an odd coupling of slightly off kilter works which stimulate and amuse even if they don’t send you home in tears of laughter. Until 14th August, 2011 Bookings: Darlinghurst Theatre (02) 83569987