Let me begin by first clarifying that this production is not a single play, but rather a set of two new plays, By The Door To The Bonehouse by Rupert Williamson and The Many Funerals of Beckett Fitzgerald by Harry Goodlet.
First on the set is By The Door To The Bonehouse.
This play begins rather simply, it is just a man, Henry, played by Tim Lorian, in a room full of his own treasures. Certainly he has some quirks, but nothing that can’t be laughed away. However, as the play proceeds, Henry’s brother and sister come to stay with him, Jean, played by Lauren Meyer and Mark, played by Giacomo Groppoli. As the characters interact with one another, it becomes apparent that things don’t quite make all that much sense, and there is something more to this play than situational comedy, not simply a re-imagining of The Odd Couple… Williamson claims to be a newbie, but the stylistic play writing that he displays in this production says otherwise. Equally, the direction that these two writers/directors have given to this play is a step above a community theatre standard, from the occasional conveniently placed prop, to the set which implies a larger world that we the audience never get to see, but really wish we could. The ambiguity of this play is where its power lies.
Second on the set is The Many Funerals of Beckett Fitzgerald.
Goodlet’s play centres around the undertaker, Beckett Fitzgerald, played by Ben Thomas, who, given his daily dealing with it, doesn’t look at death as society generally does… until it comes to his own door. This is a very touching story about dealing with the ghosts that our loved ones leave behind when they leave us, and how those of us who have been left behind are supposed to deal with ourselves, and with each other.
Goodlet strikes a very comfortable medium between humour and melancholy, where one can recognise, and relate to the struggles that Beck and his daughter Molly, played by Allegra Di Francesco, are facing, without pushing the audience to the point of facing their own struggles.
The live music was also a very nice touch, providing both comic relief and a very pleasing ambiance.
Overall, this production is really very good, and well worth the watch. The production team assembled under this project really help to bring the stage world to life, and the vividly imagined characters are made real by some utterly superb acting. A special remark on this note must go out to Lauren Meyer, whose ability to convincingly switch between sweet and psychopath was a little unnerving, and Nicholas Morlet, who really had me believing that he was a priest.
University Dramatic Society presents
Aches and Lakes
by Rupert Williamson & Harry Goodlet
Directors Rupert Williamson & Harry Goodlet
Venue: Dolphin Theatre (UWA) | 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA
Dates: 14 – 17 September 2016
Tickets: $16 – $25