Theatre Review: Born Yesterday

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Presented by Independent Theatre
Reviewed 29 April 2018

Born Yesterday was written at the end of WWII but could have been written yesterday: the bombastic, bullying, misogynistic Harry Brock could easily be mistaken for a pre-presidential Donald Trump. Stuart Pearce plays Brock giving him the overbearing character of a man who has made millions from scrap metal and intimidation. His veneer of charm is instantly lost when he meets any opposition. The Presidential Suite is valuable for the status it gives; only the best is good enough. The entire play takes place there; yet another well-crafted and decorated Independent set by Rob Croser and David Roach.

Madeleine Herd demonstrating her exceptional talent portrays Brock’s girlfriend, Billie, whom he sees no point in marrying. Billie enters as an uneducated ex showgirl, a diamond in the rough, which Brock wants to polish to make her more of an asset in Washington society. To this end he employs a journalist, Paul Verral to improve her speech and help her understand the society she will mix with. Verral (Johathan Johnston), doesn’t just improve her mind, he falls in love.

In Brock’s circle, Greg Janzow, does a fine job as his cousin, assistant/dogsbody Eddie, getting shouted at and threatened and just carrying on. David Roach plays Brock’s perpetually soused lawyer Ed Devery very subtly, always drunk but never blatantly so. The questionable Senator is given just the right mix of confusion and politics by David Rapkin and Bronwyn Ruciak makes a great Senator’s wife. The smaller roles were handled well by Thomas Tessema and Jenna Bezuidenhout, both garnering their share of the comedy.

Rob Croser’s direction and casting has brought this piece to life. Bob Weatherly’s lighting showed off Sandra Davis’ costumes beautifully, from the garish dressing robe worn by Brock to Billie’s glamorous period costumes. The subject of bullying and political chicanery should not be fodder for a comedy, but life is there to be laughed at, so make sure you catch this very funny production!

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Goodwood Institute Theatre, 166a Goodwood Rd
Season:27 April – 5 May 2018
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: $20 – $37.50
Bookings: BASS 131246 www.bass.net.au

 

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