Getting out to see theatre is somewhat of a challenge for me these days. What am I saying, much of the time... so it was a rare moment that saw me driving out towards Melville to see their current show Hedda Gabler. Now, I have worked with many people in my years of theatre so it is pretty hard for me to see a show without someone I know in it, so I will point out that I know over 50% of the cast, and the director, however that makes little difference in this case. The show is briliant.
In short, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the show, and I can be quite hard on shows I see, just ask my wife...
The cast on the whole were very entertaining and gave solid performances with one in particular being surprisingly entertaining.
Olivia Darby, taking on the title role is wonderfully sarcastic and stern which overplays a deep yet strange desire for release. I have directed and watched Olivia perform previously and she has always delivered powerful performances. Yet again, she carries this play with apparent ease.
Patrick Whitelaw playing Hedda's rather pathetic yet endearing husband maintained his character throughout, although I did find, at times that his bumbling vocab did tend to smother his words, but this was only an occasional tendency. None-the-less, I found myself squirming in my seat watching him because I could relate to his character far too much than I should have done. I good character performance should always have that effect when the arrow strikes close to home.
Rosemary Longhurst, as the Aunt was a strong performance for a smaller role. At times I think she out shone her co-stars with but a few words.
Cary Hudson, another whom I have worked with, I felt was a performance that really warmed up. By the end of the show, the lecherous and rather slimy Judge Brack had me wanting to punch the guy. I hope that was the intent.
Carmen Miles I have watched before and she seems to be given characters that go through some pretty depressive scenarios. Her last appearance in Emma was similar, in some respects, to this role, yet I think she handled this with more skill and focus. The scenes in the middle of the play, where she became rather distressed were well delivered and certainly evoked a feeling of concern in this viewer.
Berte, the unwanted maid, was played by Charmaine Coleman, and it is the smallest role with a number of entrances and exits. Playing these smaller roles within a cast of, let's face it, powerful actors, can be very daunting. Never-the-less, Charmaine added that little extra bit of colour to the ensemble.
However, for me, the stand-out performance for the afternoon was with Matthew Lister, and this is because I know him and how far he has come. Matt, you really hit it this time, and while I think you can give much more, you certainly came out of your shell in this production, and now that you are here, there ain't no going back.
Directed by Kirilee Lennerts, someone else I have worked with, and been directed by, this show evokes so much of the period it was written for. It is a wonderful piece of theatre and truly demonstrates the quality of theatre that Independent Theatre can truly achieve, and by Independent Theatre I mean Community Theatre.
Well done to all.
Musical with a Twist