Jack Goes Boating | Red Stitch Actors TheatreLeft - Ella Caldwell, Brett Cousins. Cover - Ella Caldwell, Brett Cousins, David Whiteley, Natalyia Novikova. Photos - Jodie Hutchinson

Red Stitch Actors Theatre
presents Jack Goes Boating, directed by Alex Menglet. This is the Australian premiere of the play, written by New York based performer Bob Glaudini.

Jack Goes Boating is a play about love, drugs, human connections and the need to work, in a busy modern world. It is clever and amusingly written, with engaging characters.

Young married couple Lucy and Clyde set their somewhat guileless friend Jack up on a date with Lucy's new work colleague Connie. But there are certain things Jack needs to know before he can follow through with Connie. Swimming and cooking lessons for instance, as well as a little healthy relationship disillusionment from friends. 

Menglet is a director who clearly knows how to get strong work from his performers, but perhaps the direction needed a more complete vision to keep it all together. For instance, unfortunately the set seems a little thrown together. There are a lot of short, sharp scenes in this play, with the need to quickly provide changes between several settings in a small space.  This is of course challenging, nonetheless, given this requirement perhaps something more should have been done with the set changes. At times too, the recorded sound was ear-splitting, especially at the beginning. 

Jack Goes Boating works as a light comedy of modern-day manners. It is not really about too much and therefore relies on the actors to keep it interesting. David Whitely, guest artist Natalyia Novikova, Ella Caldwell and Brett Cousins certainly achieve this, all providing well paced performances and cleverly nuanced characters. I've resisted saying it but, it is quirky.  Novikova is particularly entertaining, with delightfully idiosyncratic speech patterns and a beguiling manner. I am so relieved to hear terrific, consistent accents all round, it's such a respite.

Red Stitch does a good job providing smart new works for Melbourne audiences. Not intending to single out this company, I am in general though beginning to crave theatre that more directly speaks to an Australian experience.

Jack Goes Boating is diverting, amusing and well performed theatre.

Red Stitch Actors Theatre presents
Jack Goes Boating
by Bob Glaudini

Venue: Red Stitch Actors Theatre, rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda East (opp Astor)
Dates: Fri September 7 - Sat October 6
Times: Wed - Sat 8pm, Sun 6.30pm | $18 previews Wed 5 and Thurs 6 September
Running Time: approx 2 hours
Bookings: www.redstitch.net (discounted tix) or on 03 9533 8083 @ $30/20

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