LEADING LADIES @ Pavilion Theatre, Doran Drive, Castle Hill

Let the fun begin and continue to the very end of this highly amusing farce written by American playwright Ken Ludwig. Set in York, Pennsylvania in 1962, the play centres on two down-on-their-luck British Shakespearean actors, Leo Clark and Jack Gable who, just when all seems lost have a ”good” idea. Of course complication after complication piles up as the audience wonders how they characters can possibly extricate themselves successfully.                          

The pair discovers through a newspaper article that Florence an elderly, apparently dying woman, has been unable to find Max and Steve, her sister’s children who moved to England as children in order to include them in her multimillion-dollar inheritance. They decide to pose as Max and Steve however they soon discover  “Max” and “Steve” are actually “Maxine” and “Stephanie,” and from there the pace, deceptions and comical antics increase.

Peter Gizariotis is perfectly cast as Leo Clark and his other half Maxine. From suave actor to cajoling madam he drags the hapless Jack, played with great comic timing by Ben Freedman, and his female half Stephanie, along on the mad cap scheme.

Steve Rowe is suitably sour and distrusting in his portrayal of the rather un-Christian minister.

Dave Went as Head Moose/Doc is obviously enjoying his high jinks as does the audience and Daniel Boole as Frank/Butch fills out the story including some wonderfully dreadful Shakespearian acting.

Meg, played by Nicole Harwood, is delightful as Duncan’s fiancée and adoring fan of Leo, and Nicole Harwood as Audrey is vivacious and bright in her, at times, very cute role.

Jennifer Leslie as the ageing Florence is a scream as she rolls around the stage and, well, is she dead?

A wonderfully detailed period set design by Stephen Snars provides the background and there are several very clever changes as we even find ourselves in a train at one stage. Don’t forget to look closely at the face in the Mona Lisa portrait. Gorgeous costumes, whether the  dresses are on women or the men, greatly enhance the atmosphere and draw us into the scenes.

Director Stephen Snars has brought together the actors to form a fun and ever changing  story so, for a barrel of laughs this production is a great way to warm up on a cold Sydney night.

Playing at Pavilion Theatre, Doran Drive, Castle Hill until 22nd June 2019.