Summer Wonderland | La Boite Theatre CompanySummer Wonderland created by Playwright Matthew Ryan, is a true blue parody of life's trials and tribulations faced by an eccentric group of neighbours in suburban Australia. This intensely funny play is set in a quiet cul-de-sac which provides the setting for all happenings of the characters for the duration of the play. Adding to the hilarity of the acting is the 'miniature' model houses, providing an element of the ridiculous, that create the landscape of the street. With summer nearly upon us and Christmas just around the corner, Summer Wonderland comes to us with perfect timing and is expertly delivered. The combination of unbearable heat and often unbearable relatives and having a better christmas light display than the neighbours during the festive season is a phenomenon that all of us can relate to and Summer Wonderland exposes this aspect of our culture in a way that makes it sentimentally silly!

In the run down, dilapidated house on one side of street we have Bob (Steven Tandy), the unemployed middle aged father of mechanic and aspiring traveller Foster (Leon Cain). Next door in a more non-descript looking house we have timid, non-descript Eugene who has bought himself a high maintenance Russian bride, Svetlana (Louise Brehmer), and owes the Russian mafia ten thousand dollars for his purchase. Then alongside Eugene, who also doubled as Russian mafia man Gustav (Scott Witt) we have the only 'middle class' family on the block. Mother and daughter living side by side in their very modern pre-fab home and flatette, Marti (who is also played by Louise Brehmer) and her daughter Demoiselle (Rebecca Roberts). Then there is the resident 'old bag lady' (also played by Rebecca Roberts), a character who is sometimes mad and doesn't actually reside in the cul-de-sac but randomly appears to rant and rave at Bob. This combination reflects the true nature of most suburban neighbourhoods in Australia and the individual family woes that also are a part of the fabric of what constitutes human relationships and life struggles.

What makes this comical play ironic is the construction of the characters and the way they have been pitted against each other in the Direction (Ian Lawson). It makes you think to yourself (with a knowing smirk) "it's true, this is really how it is", and the development of the relationships between the individual neighbours could be a carbon copy of any street that I have lived in. I have to say that the colourful nature of each the characters was every bit as luminous as the contested 'Christmas Light Show' that was central to the story and saw the entire street involved in a group 'face off' in an attempt to win $100,000 prize that each believes will solve all of their problems. Leading up to the street battle over the brightest house was a running kerbside commentary which illustrated the problems and passions owned by each of the characters.

Bob amused us all with his typically Australian cliches which he liked to use rather than face the fact that his wife has left him and he is financially dependent on his son. Eugene is an emotional cripple who has trouble communicating with anyone aside from Bob, and his new wife Svetlana seems only able to understand the language of sex. Meanwhile Marti and her cosseted daughter try and remain 'above' the rest of the streets problems only to find that they are a major factor in the fracas. Make a point to go and see Summer Wonderland, it's lighthearted self effacing appeal will keep you thoroughly entertained and provide you with some handy tips on what not to do this Christmas. 


A La Boite Theatre Company Commission
World Premiere
Summer Wonderland
by Matthew Ryan

Venue: Roundhouse Theatre | Musk Ave. Kelvin Grove Urban Village
Season: 11 October - 3 November 2007
Times: Tues & Wed 6.30pm, Thurs-Sat 8pm
Matinee: 2pm 27 October
After Show Discussion: 19 October
Tickets: $24.50Previews $37.50/$30.50 | Season $42.50/$35.50 | Groups 10+ $35 | Under 25 years (Booking fees apply)
Bookings: laboite.com.au or 3007 8600

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