The subject of British playwright Tom Stoppard’s THE REAL THING is love and the difficult terrain of the human heart. Written in 1982 it was a change in style for Stoppard who usually wrote very cerebral works .
In THE REAL THING Henry is married to Charlotte, whilst Annie is married to Max. But its Henry and Annie who have fallen passionately in . love. For Henry the main character, the question is has Henry found love, is it the real thing?!
Amelia Roper has written a sharp and funny play about the Global Financial Crisis and four people caught in the midst of a financial maelstrom. Exploring themes of feminism, the evils of capitalism, ego, privilege and relationships it is a substantial play with rich dialogue and crisp repartee.
Amy and Henry are having their fun day Sunday in their local New England park, reading the paper, eating ice-creams and discussing how people are losing houses in Florida, Detroit and New England.
Henry finds this sad. Amy is amused by the surprised looks of the photos in the paper of the people who have lost their houses. Amy works in the financial industry and has little sympathy for people who failed to manage their finances. She has a cruel and clinical view of the world.
There are nasty aspects to the characters in this play, reflecting the ethos that lead America and the world to its economic woes. Fortunately, this nastiness is cleverly balanced by the humorous exchanges and observations of the characters.
Amy and Henry see acquaintances Sara and Max strolling through the park and unsuccessfully try to avoid them. Sara and Max would similarly like to avoid Amy and Henry but feel obliged to join the picnic and talk about the weather and the possibilities of seeing cute dogs in the park.
The exchanges of the two couples simultaneously reveal a lot about these people and a lot about the economy and the workings of the banks in America leading up to the Global Financial Crisis. These exchanges are varied and complex. There is a lot of meanness, one-upmanship, patronising and conspiratorial glances but there is also empathy and hope.
Nell Ranney has directed a very engaging and intimate work. This is helped by Isabel Hudson’s set design. The park is represented by a small grassy mound covered in a gorgeous large rug. The park and the rug are in some ways the fifth and sixth characters of the play. The mound is in the middle of the theatre space with tiered seating on either side. The fact that you are inside a pub, the Kings Cross Hotel, is an added bonus.
The actors all gave robust and convincing performances. I enjoyed Nikki Britton’s performance as the brilliant and dispassionate Sara. Dorje Swallow as the chauvinistic but clueless Max, Tom Anson Mesker as hesitant and empathetic Max and Matilda Ridgway as the vibrant and privileged Amy.
A lot of work has gone into Ben Pierpoint’s sound design which ably assists the production and provides a pleasant backdrop. The simple and effective lighting is by Christopher Page.
Recommended. Rocket Productions’ SHE RODE HORSES LIKE THE STOCK EXCHANGE opened at the Kings Cross Theatre on the 25th October and is playing until 11th November.
While long, this is a tremendous production, more faithful to Chekhov in spirit than recent revivals seen in Sydney. The play features a new translation by Karen Vickery that makes the play seem fresh and relevant. One picks up the plays’ similarities to other Chekhov works in particular The Cherry Orchard.
Director Kevin Jackson and his wonderful cast have caught the Russian melancholy and ennui perfectly. The production is magnificently performed. There is a huge cast -fourteen of the cast in credited roles and six others as servants/military /singers.- all of whom give fine, inspired performances.
With wonderful designs by Georgia Hopkins the first act sees a cluttered, crowded set of tables overflowing with books, well used worn chairs, rugs, a piano, a niche with an icon all evoking provincial Russia circa 1900. When we move into the second half, and the characters become increasingly unhappy with their lives, the stage space as defined by the rugs is halved; indicating that the action takes place in the smaller, upstairs parlour, and also reflectively surrounding the actors with empty, black space (and ominous fire-lit warmth ). For the final scenes, the carpets are rolled up and the furniture hidden under dust sheets, replaced with white wicker garden furniture, and lush green pot plants, which signify indicate the new beginnings planned. Emma Vine’s costumes are superb as is Martin Kinnane’s lighting design. Continue reading SPORT FOR JOVE PRESENTS ‘THE THREE SISTERS’ @ REGINALD THEATRE SEYMOUR CENTRE→
Keith Richards is a founding member of The Rolling Stones, guitar guru, songwriter, consumer of cocaine, and wild man of rock n roll. Playwright Benito Di Fonzo calls him Keef. And swirling around his wonderful new play, A RIFF ON KEEF: THE HUMAN MYTH, there’s a lot of Bullswool.
The truth, like the man, is out there, but the mantle of myth, layered over decades, fudges flesh with fable. Di Fonzo has fashioned a palimpsest biograph that spans seventy years taking useful information to fire his imagination and his work succeeds a great deal of theatrical satisfaction. Continue reading A RIFF ON KEEF: THE HUMAN MYTH @ SBW STABLES THEATRE→
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