The Vortex, Noel Coward’s 1924 commentary on sex, drugs and … jazz music?... is the work currently being staged by Notre Dame’s very talented Performing Arts Association, in Fremantle. Centring on the relationship between the mother and son of a wealthy family in post war Britain, Coward’s play is simultaneously an account of shifting social norms and a rather well disguised moral tract.
Lowri Cox and Matthew Jones take the lead in this production as mother and son Florence Lancaster and Nicky Lancaster, a role Coward initially wrote for himself. These two actors really do carry the show on their shoulders, invigorating each scene with a grace and energy that fills the stage world with a true sense of realism.
Of course, a lead is nothing without the support of a strong cast, and in this case herculean would be an understatement. Courtney McManus and Rachel Porter provide the majority of the play’s flesh and bones with their gossipy portrayals of Helen Saville and Pawnie Quentin. Sophia Kenna and Giacomo Groppolli act as the play’s moral compass in the roles of Bunty Mainwaring and Tom Veyran. Annabelle Segler provides the audience a much needed comic relief in the role of Clara Hibbert, while Bruce Fairlight, the playwright with an aversion to novels is played by Zacharia Hourani, the hopelessly disillusioned David Lancaster is performed by Michael Allan and the stoic, almost Crichton-esque, Preston is performed by Carrie Stevens.
This fortunate performing cast really do have a hard working production team backing them up on this show, from the incredibly elaborate sound design, by Georgie Burgess, through to the impeccable 1920s designs from the hair, make-up and costume design crew, and the well-oiled machine that is the set crew.
Of course, a production this elaborate could not have been successfully realised without the leadership of someone with extraordinary vision and dedication. The show’s director, Dylan Gojak, has directed what is possibly the society’s best productions to date. Not only has the choice of text been absolutely spot-on but he, and the society’s committee, has managed to assemble a team with talent and dedication to match the best that Perth has to offer in 2016.
The Performing Arts Association of Notre Dame Australia (PAANDA) presents:
by Noel Coward
Director Dylan Gojak
Venue: Prindiville Hall Studio | 32 Mouat St, Fremantle WA
Dates: 3 – 12 November 2016