Good Cook. Friendly. Clean. It's a great title for a play and could be a natty calling card. It might go down a treat as a Nanny's business card, but it seems to have little currency for Tara Marice's character, Sandra in Brooke Robinson's Good Cook. Friendly. Clean.
Sandra has been kicked out of her share house for no other reason than the couple who hold the lease want a mate who is relocating from interstate to have the room, although the proximity of mortality may have something to do with it. The fact they don’t have the courage of their evictions is palpable. You see, Sandra has cancer, and may be looking to go intestate.
So sick and of a certain age, Sandra has to do the rounds of share house accommodation interviews with a series of less than accommodating people.
Marion Potts' production starts off at frenetic pace, with Sandra in fever pitch to find lodgings, and her interviewers are also played in high kinetics, alluding to the high stakes of securing a space in twenty first century Sydney. Exhausted by her elusive securing of digs, exacerbated by her illness and treatment, the pace slows and so does the humour.
Tara Morice is stoically charming as Sandra, putting on a sunny disposition despite of a dark and gloomy diagnosis and the less than positive prognosis of a room of one's own. The erosion of her optimism is finely graded in contrast to the blasting bombast she has to endure.
Kelly Paterniti and Fayssal Bazzi do dazzling doubling duty as the myriad house holders Sandra encounters, from the original ousters through to slacker siblings, a perverse couple, and a frazzled mother and frenzied child.
Melanie Liertz's design evokes a dwelling of dilapidation, exposed PVC plumbing pipes, stairs that deny ascension, retarded renovation. Alexander Berlage lighting design contains some spectacular flourish including flashbomb scene transition.
Sandra invokes an empathy test with a couple of her interviewers by yawning. The couple fail. Brooke Robinson's play, however, does not fail in eliciting empathy for Sandra, and the high calibre of direction and cast stifle any thought of a yawn.
Griffin Theatre Company presents
Good Cook. Friendly. Clean.
by Brooke Robinson
Director Marion Potts
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre | 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW
Dates: 4 May – 16 June 2018
Tickets: $60 – $38