Presented by The Princes Players and Prince Alfred College
Reviewed 7 Sept 2018
Thinking of myself as a well-honed theatre buff and aficionado, this reviewer is ashamed to admit that I have never read the play nor seen a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town – indeed, when I was younger I used to confuse it with the Spencer Tracy film, Boys Town. Thanks to this wonderful production of it by the Princes Players, that has now all been rectified.
The Princes Players, for this production, consist of Prince Alfred College ‘Old Scholars’ (having graduated only last year), current PAC students from Year 5 all the way to Year 12, and girls from St Peter’s Girls’ School and Seymour College.
The play seems fairly simple in structure, being what we think is initially a look at a small, homey and cosy American country town at the turn of the Twentieth Century: but, it is in reality, a study of the ultimate Human condition, Life. Director Paula Little obviously loves the play and clearly understands the myriad of layers that engulf the story: and she has passed that enjoyment and clarity along to her talented young cast well.
All the cast – Zara Blight, Stefan Drusian, Luke Economous, Matthew Economous, Thomas Fenner, Ethan Hickman, Henry Pontifex, Angus Porter, Amelia Provan, Michelle Rupert, Fergus Teh, Georgia Theofanous, Seb Walker, Zoe Walker, James Walters and Ethan White – perform well, showing off their excellent projection and diction skills making each un-miced (Hooray!) word crystal clear. The American accents (something that can stump the most experienced of adult actors) are handled well, with some so authentic that one wonders if Prince Alfred College should be renamed Yale.
While everyone works well and is entertaining in his or her role(s), there are some stand-outs, most notably Ethan White,Michelle Rupert, Amelia Provan, Thomas Fenner, Georgia Theofanous, James Walters and Angus Porter. White, Rupert, Provan and Fenner play the main adult figures and are very believable. Theofanous as Emily is slightly over-loud at times but shows great potential, especially in her rather difficult but beautifully executed Act Three monologue. Watch out though in future for the names James Walters and Angus Porter – these young men will be stars if they want to be. Walters plays young George with a beautiful, never overdone naivety and sincerity that just feels so real; whilst, in the difficult role of “The Stage Manager” , Porter, managing the best and most consistent American accent, is outstanding, subtly changing his persona leading up to the play’s conclusion and being the authority figure he needs to be.
One must also mention the fine mime skills all of the young actors have. And while on the subject of mime: Fleur Green is down in the programme as ‘Musician’, and whilst she plays the piano and violin superbly, as the ‘sound effects’ person she contributes so much more- one could watch just her, she is absolutely fantastic!
These princes and princesses have turned out to be kings and queens!
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey