A State of AffairsLeft - Katie O'Reilly and Tim Overton. Cover - Nic English and Charlotte Rees.

Graham Swannell’s
play A State of Affairs is a contemporary comedy, and a lopsided comment on extramarital affairs of the head rather than of the heart. 

Director, Joh Hartog likes providing his Flinders drama centre graduates with this kind of material which probes the idiosyncrasies of unsound human behaviour. A State of Affairs fits the bill nicely. The play itself is really a quartet of small sitcoms linked thematically by actual or considered marital infidelity. There is a semblance of a story arc here and the consequences of the furtive relationships always end in tragedy. But it’s as if Swannell has sketched his subject rather than give it subtext and depth. Hartog and his nice little ensemble work hard with the material and the director leaves space for the actors to fill which they do with mixed results.

Of particular note is Nic Krieg (Maurice) who oozes shady charm and appears only in the third act (The Day of the Dog) but his inherent, assured presence, illuminates the piece and it’s a pity his character’s story could not have been more developed. Charlotte Rees is solid in all three roles she performs. In the second act (Consequences) she is fine as the sex buddy Frances who has fallen deeply for her lover Jack (Nic English) but he only wants a ding dong. Rees brings a certain gravity to the part of Frances which adds greatly to the funny dialogue between her and English.

Although at times, the four well-executed stories are genuinely, if mildly, amusing the whole play – and the production - is a tad unambitious. With this enthusiastic cast this production could have been more than simply the dramatically lightweight piece that’s presented to the audience. Yet, there’s enough charm in A State of Affairs to recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a little inanity in their situation comedies.

Bakehouse Theatre presents
A State of Affairs
by Graham Swannell

Directed by Joh Hartog

Venue: Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St. Adelaide
Dates: August 12 (Preview), August 13 – 28, 2010
Times: Wed to Sat at 8pm
Tickets: Adults $22, Concession $18, Fringe Benefits/Students $16
Bookings: www.bakehousetheatre.com.au | 8227 0505

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