This touring production of David Stevens’ Australian classic play starring Patrick Harvey and John Jarrett is an absolute must-see.
Presented by: Hit ProductionsVenue: Parade Playhouse, NIDA (Sydney)
Review date: Thursday, August 4, 2011
This touring production of David Stevens’ Australian classic play starring Patrick Harvey and John Jarrett is an absolute must-see. The Australian tour is in full swing having played many regional towns and cities already and now sydney-siders get to experience this modern slice of Australian life at their very own doorstep. David Stevens has written a very digestible style of breaking down the fourth wall and allowing the characters to embrace and assist the audience in case they are feeling uncomfortable with the subject matter of homosexuality. This is in the form of several monologues for the characters of Harry (Jarrett) and Jeff (Harvey) handled delicately and vulnerably by both actors. The direction of Denis Moore was well detailed and allowed the scenes to breathe making the awkward romantic moments realistic and the characters memories linger on beautifully. The set furnishings were rearranged several times by the characters, prompting the audience to question why, however it did allow for some humourous physical comedy. In a small cast of four it is difficult to single out any particular performance but Patrick Harvey must be commended on his range of emotions and endearing warmth that he gave his mostly masculine, homosexual character that never drifted into cliches or “typical gay” interpretations that are often portrayed. John Jarrett’s performance is equally commendable as he successfully handles the many layers of his paternal Harry dealing with his love for his son, his own personal loneliness and quest for a second chance at love, his regrets and guilt of his past actions, and a bleak outlook of a post-stroke future. As much as this is a play about families and how the children are the sum of their past parentage, it is also very much a romance, not always successful, but fairly honest and realistic. Glen Van Oosterom as Jeff’s love interest Gary, sorry… Greg, portrays a very handsome yet goofy young gay man, who uses laughter to hide his own pain and uncomfortableness making him vulnerable and very likable. Both he and Patrick Harvey successfully touch the emotions and its not only Jarrett’s wheelchair-bound Harry that wants to see them realise their love, but every person in the room. The Sum of Us is thoroughly enjoyable, thought provoking, and well staged, with good humour, very likable characters, and beautifully acted scenes and monologues. It is currently playing at NIDA’s Parade Playhouse till Saturday August 6th, then Glen street theatre in Belrose (August 9-20) and will soon head to Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre (August 23-27) before making its way up the north coastal towns of NSW on its way to Queensland.Parents coming to terms with their own childrens sexuality will find this play quite helpful as well as those coming to terms with their own sexuality, but overall this is a story that appeals to everyone. Get a ticket before it moves on.