Brave New Word Theatre Company continues to produce fresh and new Australian plays with its latest show DANCING NAKED IN THE BACKYARD.
Written by C.J. Naylor, the script, as with previous shows, was experimented and improvised on by Naylor and the actors, with director Travis Kecek then preparing the final shape of the play. This process gives the cast and crew a deeper connection to their theatre piece.
Artistic director Luke Holmes says, “There are plays I love, there are roles I’d give almost anything to play…but there’s nothing quite like working on something completely new, and watching it change, evolve and finally be staged.”
Most of us have known someone whose quiet suburban bliss has been compromised by high-rise property developers and DANCING NAKED IN THE BACKYARD is based on a true story. Hinton Street is a neighbour-friendly and peaceful haven, away from the stress of the city. Two couples live side by side. The young and happily married Derwent and Cathy (played by Matt Hopkins and Zazu Towle) and the older married couple, Harold and Nancy (Alan Long and Estelle Healey), easy going and set in their ways. Harold loves his backyard and trees, Nancy doesn’t like Harold’s trees as they make too much mess.
Enter Reland, suave and debonaire, fancy suit and shiny shoes.
Reland is a developer from Sylvan Towers (played with great energy and humour by Samuel Smith), and is about to offer our residents a wonderful new opportunity – Village Living.
He shows Derwent the exciting plans, lush gardens and parkland, shops, a waterfall feature and comfortable village housing. The residents are not impressed and Derwent visits the offices of Sylvan Towers to see the plans. (Sascha Hall plays the Officer with endearing rudeness and military precision). The neighbours bond together to fight the project.
As Reland woos Harold with his chequebook and takes Derwent and Cathy to a restaurant (where Kara Stewart performs a wonderful belly dance), the pressure mounts. When burglaries start happening, including Nancy and Harold’s house, properties are being de-valued and the proposed high-rise starts climbing to six stories, the situation becomes untenable.
DANCING NAKED IN THE BACKYARD, Nancy’s reference to their lack of privacy with the eminent high-rise, has a good storyline and ending. The style of the play seems to cross sometimes between reality and caricature. Derwent and Cathy seem more naturalistic than Harold and Nancy, which could affect the audience’s empathy. It is an enjoyable play and the character of Reland is very well conceived for such a serious story.
Brave New Word Theatre Company deserve to be supported and encouraged. I look forward to their next production.
DANCING NAKED IN THE BACKYARD plays downstairs at The Tap Gallery from the 15th to the 26th April.
For more about Dancing Naked In The Backyard, visit http://www.bnwtheatre.com.au