Presented by St Jude’s Players
Reviewed 2nd Aug 2018
St Jude’s always do remarkable things with their sets, especially when designed by Ole Wiebkin, but initially I was underwhelmed by the set for this interesting play. As the play unfolded I became struck by the way in which the disintegration of the set mirrored the dissolution of the family that we were watching. Wiebkin has held back on the actual structure, leaving the hint of a building which may be reclaimed by the sea, beautifully lit by Richard Parkhill.
The over arching theme of memory is used to highlight the conflict between the three sisters who are gathered for their mother’s funeral. No-one’s memory is the same, even to having doubts about whose memory is whose. These sisters are very different from each other and are dealing with their loss in a personal way. The eldest, Teresa, played by Jenny Allen, feels that the responsibility lies with her and her younger siblings are no help. Mary (Cheryl Douglas) is wound up in her unsatisfactory relationship and her desire for a child, whilst Catherine (Laura Antonizzi) is craving attention, preferably male attention. They all see echoes of their mother in each other whilst failing to recognise themselves.
The mother, Vi, played by Madeleine Marin, appears as a ghostly (possibly dreamlike) figure to Mary and comments on their inability to remember her! Marin makes Vi believable and pleasant. Director Geoff Brittain has been careful to develop the characters well. Allen is frazzled and insecure, Antonizzi is selfish with a short fuse, both played well, but Douglas is the standout in the complex role of Mary. In the role of Teresa’s husband Stuart Pearce is worn down and exasperated, trying desperately to pour oil on troubled waters. As Mary’s married lover, Mike, Mark Healy tries not to be drawn into the morass of feelings.
Shelagh Stephenson’s script has much to recommend it. Unashamedly comic in places it also deals with the tragic effect of families in crisis. A production worth seeing, it will make you laugh, maybe at yourself.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: St Jude’s Hall, Brighton Rd
Season: 2-11 Aug 2018
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: $10 – $22
Bookings: Bookings online via www.stjudesplayers.asn.au click BOOK TICKETS or telephone
8296 2628 or 0436 262 628