The Factory Space Theatre Company’s new production at their home venue in Manly, the Star of The Sea theatre, is Pam Gems’ new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ play CAMILLE ( ‘La Dame Au Camelias’) directed by Artistic Director Roz Riley.
This adaptation of CAMILLE is re-imagined for the modern stage. Set in the 1840s this unforgettable classic bourgeois drama of the famous courtesan CAMILLE has comedic twists and enticing turns of plot, and an excellent music soundtrack. Beautiful Marguerite Gautier at the age of fifteen, her Marquis employer seduced her and becoming pregnant, she decides on the courtesan life as CAMILLE.
Peter Hayes’ character, the Minister for Transport, admits in an early scene that his little rant about, err, whatever it was, came straight from Hansard and this play at the Old Fitzroy Theatre certainly rings true. It is sometimes funny and moves along at a pace. Unfortunately, especially at this point in time, politics are so boring and, in my humble opinion, a bomb threat or actual ghosts were needed to make this piece truly exciting. There were three ”Heh”s, and one “Ha.” But only one big laugh from the audience all night! I also didn’t see the need for the Prologue or Epilogue. Sometimes I feel you need to trust the audience to “get it”!
I love the space at the Old Fitz. It’s intimate and steeply raked, making audiences feel very close to the action. I liked the set design, especially the elevator effect.
If an actor’s focus is on remembering his lines, he’ll probably forget them – and he may as well. But with that momentary glitch out of the way, the rest of the performances went swimmingly with characters coming and going through this ‘fishbowl’ expose of life in the corridors of power. There were obviously going to be stand outs in a cast of thirteen and the wealth of experience that director, Julie Baz has managed to assemble for this witty and often truthful presentation.
Worth mentioning are Peter Hayes as the Minister for Transport, Gertraud Ingeborg as the Premier and a cleaner (I always like it when you have to check the program to be sure!), David Ritchie as the Leader of the Opposition, a Journalist and Public, (although on Friday night something strange happened with his vocal character trait as the Journo!?) and Adrian Barnes’ rich characterisation of Mr Edgerton providing welcome colour. As I said, experience will out!
All in all it’s worth a look; if only as a reflection of the current political circus.
A Sydney Independent Theatre Company production directed by Julie Baz, Daniela Giorgi’s FRIDAY is playing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre until Saturday August 31, 2013.
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