THEATRE REVIEW by MEREDITH FULLER OAM
A Stellar CAST and accomplished CREW:
Iopu Auva’a – Rupert Bevan – Linda Cookson – Stefanie Falasca – Bailey Griffiths – Justin Hosking – Eleanor Howlett – Cait Spiker – Stephen Tall
With a chorus of early-career actors from CollArts
BOOK IN NOW! Tix $ 50 and concessions
Theatre Works promised that this production would be a highlight on their 2023 calendar, and they have certainly delivered their promise. This is “a uniquely Australian look at small families and their epic stories, Shakespearean in structure but deeply personal in tone,” but the director’s whimsy takes us to an extraordinary place.
Friendly front-of-house staff offer the audience an opportunity to watch a prequel if we desire.
Anyone who isn’t familiar with Shakespeare (or hasn’t watched the movie ‘Good Will Hunting’) may initially struggle with this boisterous confection with a large cast of sprites, but the charm of the young actors and their exuberant desire for applause wins us over.
A clever segue into the play engages us immediately. Excellent casting means that this ensemble is dynamic and tight. Every actor is strong and inhabits each role to perfection.
The play, set in 1967, follows the journey of three desiccated couples who go to the GoldCoast over Christmas Holidays to stay in a campervan, tent, and luxury hotel. Their interactions force them to shed their personas and reveal what ails their souls. Telling their truth enables them to eventually reconnect with each other more intimately, leaving us with a satisfying outcome. Gow writes superb Australian archetypes that we can all recognise. His tragi-comedic touch is visceral, enlightening and hopeful.
Director Steven Mitchell Wright brings a unique, delectable, and joyous touch to his work. He has mined every remote possibility with multiple genre, pastiche, and parallel process. We see ourselves, our relatives, and friends utter ignorant, naive or sad comments coupled with hysterical mannerisms that endear them all to us.
Exquisite choreography, glorious dancing, singing, and pathos will appeal to a broad range of age and lifestage. Stephen Tall’s song solo was awe-inspiring and the audience held their breath in amazement.
Linda Cookson’s acting skills are so perfect for Gow’s intentions and pacing. She is ephemeral, bawdy, glamorous, and gut-wrenching.
Loved every actor – they were faultless. Younger Rupert Bevan and Cait Spiker stood out for being as accomplished as the older actors.
Young Bevan has 2 major roles; he acquitted himself so well with the second it took me a while to realise who it was.
Wardrobe was inspired, and sound and lighting was spot on. Such a great experience, I would see it again.
Don’t miss AWAY! It is on until 22 July.
120 mins plus interval (so entertaining that time flies away)
Meredith Fuller OAM
psychologist | author | psychological commentator for the media