‘Handsome Dogs’ is a play by English born playwright, John Freeman. John has just taken over the post of senior lecturer in Performance Studies at Curtin, and this play and ingenious direction will again fill the Curtin supporters with hope and pride.
This production from Curtin’s Performance studies and the Hayman Theatre Company is proudly presented in the Atkinson Forum (near the theatre), Curtin University, Kent Street Bentley. For three performances only, the 75-minute play starts at 7.30 pm on November 24th, 25th and 26th.
As dusk arrived the Greek style forum lit up. A band of musos, with bass player Daniel Woodgate, drummer Heather Jerrems, and guitarists Sarah Bazeley, Leigh Brennan and Charles Wu broke into a short, heavy metal number, setting the scene for the contemporary Greek-style tragedy with strong hints of Euripides that was to follow.
As they played, the barman (Kyle Kash-Gregory) arranged several chairs in a line. The music stopped and a stunning, longhaired blonde (Hannah Mason - delightful) in widow’s weeds sings – in a Melanie Safka style - a beautiful, unaccompanied poetic song. Soon, six other widows, all in identical dresses, join her. As they sit, they appear reminiscent of Robert Palmer’s backing group. They start to talk about their recently departed husbands.
‘He was always an arsehole’ spouted one (Kirsty Marillier), only to be reprimanded and told to be more respectful by another (Emma O’Sullivan). A broken-hearted wife (Verity Softly) goes to the microphone and tells of the sad death of her husband at the coast.
Over the hill came three men, a researcher, studying relationships (Jordan Nix), a lout who believes that women are all sluts and his property to do as he wishes (Josh Magee). Finally, the philosopher (Matthew Randall) who tries to bring order. Two of the widows (Melissa Dusting and Georgie Perrott) leave in disgust and join the other widows in the audience.
The lout spots the three remaining widows (Violette Ayad, Elizabeth Frodsham and Mikaela Cotton) and tries his rough approach.
Onto the scene arrives a despot (Charles Wu); despite being confined to a wheelchair, he seems to have lost little of his obnoxious attitude and power. The tyrant’s wife (Jade Unwin) has been seeing a handsome young man (Lucas Marie) in the town, how will her husband react to the fact?
Writer / director John Freeman has cleverly blended in the styles of several respected authors of the past, such as Brecht and produced this extremely funny, richly written play, that has been delivered with a dry, denigrating wit. The actors coped well with the challenge of voice projection in the huge open space. The characterisations were many and varied, all presented very well. The story involved the audience (actors) arguing with the stage performers on matters of decency, conscience and dictatorship.
Claire Williams capably tackled the tricky outdoor lighting and sound. Shelby Shaw designed the excellent costumes. The whole production competently stage-managed by Patrick Harvey.
A beautifully relaxing evening in the open, with a play that was a breath of fresh air. Most enjoyable and thought provoking.
Friday 10th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 11th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 17th May 2013 8pm
Saturda 18th May 2013 2pm & 8pm
Friday 24th May 2013 8pm
Saturday 25th May 2013 2pm & 8pm