SITCO’s swan song as stewards of The Old Fitzroy theatre space is an apt one.
The end of an era is marked by a double bill of one act plays about colourful characters from the Kings Cross area that are from another era, THE LES ROBINSON STORY and BELLE OF THE CROSS.
THE LES ROBINSON STORY is a palimpsest of a personality, Les Robinson, a slacker before the term was coined, whose stories, Kenneth Slessor is attributed as saying, would be better understood and appreciated in 1993 than 1933.
Brought up on readings of Robinson Crusoe and the Swiss Family Robinson, these literary namesakes seem to have foreshadowed Les’ literary ambitions which foundered and shipwrecked on the shores of Bohemia.
Kieran Carroll’s script certainly teases an interest in this forgotten man of letters and Martin Portus plays the eccentric stranger to success with an affable arrogance, espousing literary allusions that conjure Flaubert as a Women’s Weekly reader amongst other things.
Angelika Fremd’s Belle of the Cross is the more polished script, more crisply directed by David Ritchie, and as portrayed by Gertraud Ingeborg, Belle is a more empathetic character than Les.
The playwright asserts that Belle is a composite character, not based on any particular person, an amalgamation of imagination and observation of her eight years as a resident of the Cross and volunteer at Wayside Chapel.
Ingeborg is one of those charismatic actresses who can make the opening of an envelope eminently watchable and her subtle, detailed portrayal of a woman rendered homeless yet holding on to every last vestige of elegance and grace is a pearler.
Ostensibly, both plays are ‘one man shows’, but each is elevated by a support character, in the case of THE LES ROBINSON STORY, a larrikin lyricist, played by Matt Thomson, who balladeers a Slessor poem and a ditty called Woolloomooloo Lair.
Colleen Cook’s supporting turn as a streetwalker/stripper is a stunner.
Let bygones be bygones as these remnants of a bygone era mark the end of this year’s season at the Old Fitzroy. Thank you for the memories.
THE LES ROBINSON STORY- a co-production wth Type Faster Productions- is playing on a double bill with BELLE OF THE CROSS- a co-production with Harlos Productions- at the Old Fitzroy theatre Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 5pm until November 29.