A Bunch of Amateurs – Red Phoenix Theatre

A Bunch of Amateurs – Red Phoenix Theatre

Each of this comedy’s seven actors in “A Bunch of Amateurs” allows their character to blend, relate and resonate one with the other in the most delightful of ways. We like them, we know them and we find their altogether human antics and foibles hilarious.

Lindsay Dunn as Nigel Newberry local notary public and obvious actor elder in the village of Stratford affects a wonderful “I’m ready to act” face with accompanying practised stance. And he does act, whether invited to or not!

Village B&B business owner Mary Plunkett (Tracey Walker) whose best room doesn’t have an en suite, seems to possess scant knowledge of lead actors in Hollywood films. Her switch from simpering Jefferson Steel fan to histrionic speech deliverer as Regan in the onstage rehearsal for “King Lear” brought the house down.

Derek Crawford in a slightly more grown-up role than he had as the Innkeeper in “The Flint Street Nativity” really is local lad Denis Dobbins. His eyeball routine as the Duke of Gloucester is a very funny piece of business throughout. His “gopher” manoeuvring skills are admirable.

Cheryl Douglas demonstrates nicely drawn cultural frustration as Lauren Bell, wife of apparently boring beer brewer and would-be sponsor of the Stratford Drama Club, whilst Laura Antoniazzi as Jefferson’s daughter Jessica belies her privileged but fatherless upbringing with a blend of cynicism and warm human forgiveness.

I would also mention the trio of journalists who, performance-wise, really hold their own in the final scene. Well done.

However, the stand out performers without question are Petra Schulenburg and Brant Eustice.

Petra Schulenburg as Dorothy Nettle, director of “Lear” and the soul of Stratford’s struggling theatre fraternity gives a performance that is calm, cool and deliciously brilliant. She captures our attention in an instant and we feel as much directed by her as is her would-be cast on stage. She is the perfect foil for Jefferson Steel played with consummate comic ease by Brant Eustice. He gives us the character we love and delightfully loathe in a dazzling performance. In my opinion both actors produce award nomination performances

Director Michael Eustice has led his stellar cast to deliver a perfectly timed and well paced stunning piece of comic theatre.

I thought so, and so did each and every theatre patron at last night’s opening performance. Brilliant!

A Bunch of Amateurs
Red Phoenix Theatre
Holden Street Theatres
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This production was reviewed by:

Alan Shepley
Alan Shepley
Whilst at University and Adelaide Teachers College he performed with Adelaide Uni Footlights, Therry and Theatre Guild before being appointed to country teaching positions. Over 35 years he was involved with school and/or community theatre productions in all facets of getting a show on stage at Pt. Augusta, Kadina , Balaklava and Pt. Pirie.

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