Theatre Review: The Philadelphia Story

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Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 6 Apr 2016

This play has been delighting audiences since 1939 and its charm has not diminished. Therry’s production does not disappoint. On a very appropriate set with beautifully time correct costumes a very strong cast deliver Philip Barry’s cutting wit.

Director Kerrin White, who designed the set with the late Vincent (Vinnie) Eustace, uses the space well and gives all major players a chance to shine, even the stage crew with a well choreographed set change executed with precision.

The Philadelphia Story 2Channelling her movie pinup, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Renee does not miss a beat as Tracy Lord. She manages to convey the complex character and her faults but gives her more warmth and depth than Hepburn did. Makes her much easier to have sympathy for. Henny Walters is thoroughly engaging as Dinah the younger sister, stealing the scene on several occasions. This young lady goes from strength to strength, a budding career to watch! Another scene-stealer was John Leigh Gray as Uncle Willie, the wickedly funny uncle who took liberties and delight in the uncomfortable confusion that followed.

As the proposed groom, Brad Martin was stuffy, upright and boring, but still elicited some sympathy until the last scene, a strong performance of a difficult role. Aaron MacDonald had the arrogance and sarcasm down pat playing the pivotal role of Dexter the ex-husband. MacDonald uncovers the charm and warmth that underlie the character and make it believable that Tracy could love him. Ron Densley gives a strong performance as Tracy’s brother Sandy, trying desperately to save the family name from scandal.

As the outsiders, sent to get the dirt on the Lord family, James Whitrow, the reporter Mike, and Zoe Dibb, the photographer Liz, give an impression of having been a team for a long time. Dibb conveys the longsuffering Liz with just the right amount of softness and knows how to time a sarcastic barb. Whitrow makes a believable change from disliking the family for being who they are to an understanding that leads to change.

The matriarch of the Lord family, Margaret is played with elegance to spare by Celine O’Leary, with Roman Turkewicz as her often-absent husband. The servants, the whistling Security Guard Mack, Stanley Tuck, Elsie the Maid, Cherie Kennett, and the Man Servant Daniel Malcolm, all who make up the well-drilled scene change team, round out the cast.

The appreciative audience prove that Therry have another hit on their hands.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Arts Theatre, Angus St
Season:31 March – 9 Apr 2016
Duration: 2hr 20mins
Tickets: Adult $27, Conc $22, Child 12
Bookings: Phone Therry Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm: 8358 3018
or www.trybooking.com.au (30 cent per ticket fee applies)
or BASS (fees apply)

 

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Glam Adelaide Arts Writer & Reviewer

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