Reviewed by Jacqui Mulady
Michael Gow’s “Away” is read in the majority of secondary schools as part of the English curriculum. I find it might be also useful as a Social Studies exercise.
The Student’s first offering for 2013 works in the Little Theatre fully utilising the atmosphere of an intimate setting. Unfortunately some of the characterisations did not work as well for this reviewer. Kelly Mildenhall in particular whilst funny at the start became exceedingly grating as time progressed. I don’t believe this was necessarily due to her acting ability but the overstatement of a stereotype. Ben Todd on the other-hand was exceptional as the “under-the-thumb” husband just wanting to keep the peace for the sake of his daughter. Robert Bell shone as both Rick and the MC of the Park Talent Night (not however reminiscent of Dirty Dancing). Sophia Dooley as a wife and mother suffering depression after losing her only son during the Vietnam War was exceptional. Performances by Joshua Coldwell as the Headmaster, Alex Daly as Tom and Karen Burns as Meg were also credible. The rest of the ensemble was exceedingly versatile performing anything from portraits, mirrors and furniture. Maxim Bevan in particular whilst appearing a little self-conscious stole several scenes.
I truly liked the director’s use of the split levels of the theatre and the interaction with the audience throughout. Overall Aldo Longobardi has done a reasonable job of this production. This was helped exceptionally well by Richard Parkhill’s outstanding lighting which set every mood perfectly.