Three plays, three authors and three directors: a worthwhile attempt to encourage young directors by the State Theatre Company, and a worthy celebration of the company’s 35th birthday. But the evening almost falls short of enjoyment for the audience.
Tennessee Williams’ Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen (directed by Netta Yashchin) is a lugubrious yet challenging piece – challenging for both actors and audience. It consists basically of two enormous soliloquies, one from each of the actors, he lamenting his hard done by life and missed opportunities, she lamenting her lost dreams and lack of courage even to top herself, and both trying but failing to communicate.
Nathan O’Keefe and Kate Box tried hard to make some sense of this dark and heavy play, full of Tennessee Williams protracted pauses, however their attempts at deep south accents were unconvincing. The play would have lost nothing if they had just spoken normally. The music and lighting were apposite, but the real star was the rain which fell silently and incessantly outside the enormous stark marble window throughout, subtly lit with changing hues and intensity, often providing more interest than there was in the text.
Hot Fudge by the English playwright Caryl Churchill, neatly directed by Geordie Brookman was a series of four vignettes of deceit and lies, fraud and façade. Again the accents - cockney this time - were unconvincing, with the exception of Carmel Johnson’s, as the actors negotiated the fragmented and often cross-talking dialogue particularly well. The design was exceptionally effective in tying the four together by dexterous use of the revolve and a central pillar which neatly understated the setting for each.
The entire project was saved by Woody Allen. A rollicking and polished performance of his Central Park West is a credit to the actors and to Director Hannah Allert. It is significant that the actors revelled in this play which was so much more accessible than the other two, and that their New York accents were much more consistent and believable. Again the set was excellent, and complemented the unique Jewish humour of this neurotic, guilt-ridden, conflicted yet extremely witty author. This play is a wonderful spaghetti of tangled relationships, deliciously spiced with tart one-liners. The cast severally and together rose to the occasion, and sent the audience home smiling.
State Theatre Company of South Australia presents
Three one-act plays
The Dunstan Playhouse
12 - 28 Jul
Mon - Wed @ 6.30pm, Thu – Sat @ 7.30pm
Adults $55, Conc $50
131 246 or www.bass.net.au