Scripts penned by acclaimed playwright David Williamson have drawn good crowds in Perth this year in both community and professional circles, and the recent season of Don’s Party at Melville Theatre Company was no exception.
Known for his politically and socially provocative work, Williamson uses the setting of the Federal Election in 1969 as the basis for a hilarious and convoluted character driven plot. In suburban Melbourne, Don and Kath Henderson gather their (mainly Labor voting) friends to celebrate the predicted change of government. While some time is spent in front of the TV debating the benefits and deficits of this person or that policy, the really interesting stuff happens on the porch, or in the bedroom or up the stairs.
The play, which takes place over the course of one boozy evening, grapples with sexual promiscuity, partner swapping, gender stereotypes and the emergence of feminism. The action leads to some hilarious conversations, conflict and even some blood spilled as various characters embrace the concept of experimenting with sexual freedom with differing levels of enthusiasm.
Careful attention was paid to the costumes, music, set dressings and props to remain faithful to the era. Known for his talent with set design, director Jeff Hansen cleverly created a living room, kitchen, upstairs and outdoor areas on the small stage, and he devised character interactions so that the 11 member cast could move with ease, never looking cluttered.
Each performer suited their role beautifully and the maturity and experience among the cast served them well. There was a sense of fun and familiarity between the actors which added to the natural dynamic of the famous script.
The season has now closed but with several award winning productions in recent times and a promising looking second half of 2011, Melville Theatre Company is re-establishing itself as a provider of high quality community theatre in Perth.
Melville Theatre Company presents
by David Williamson
Directed by Jeff Hansen
Venue: Melville Theatre | cnr Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra
Dates/Times: 8pm, July 1, 2, 7 – 9, 14 – 16; 2pm July 3, 2011
Tickets: $17 | $13