Reviewed by Richard Lane
The underlying subtext of Donald Mac Donald’s Australian farce Caravan seems to be the age-old theme of sex. The plot brings together three couples in a pokey little caravan, set somewhere on the New South Wales coast all of whom seem to be determined to do a bit of horizontal Morris dancing while enjoying their holiday.
Penny Robinson, wife of the caravan’s owner, the grumpy Parkes, wants to rekindle a drunken dalliance she had with Rodney Rice but Rodney doesn’t want to be caught in the act by his wife Monica . Enter Pierce. These five are all forty somethings but Pierce turns up with a 22-year old dolly bird, Gwendolyn , raring to have a week of unbridled passion.
Six people on holiday in a caravan when the rain buckets down is not a pretty sight! They all become much more interested where they are going to find a dry place to sleep and they don’t seem to mind with whom. Claustrophobic confines of the caravan, missed opportunities, mishaps and bad tempers, all contribute to the unlikely fun.
Clarke Staker’s set, a cut off side view of a caravan is very cleverly designed and Scott Brokenshire’s lights and sound work well.
Director Brian Godfrey certainly knows farce – he made his charges work their butts off. The pace is a cracker which is the secret of well-played farce.
Acting honours go to Eva Grzelak who maintained her character as the hard -drinking, smoking and wise- cracking, cynical Monica. Terry Crowe played the bombastic, loud and bad tempered Parkes with aplomb, though reminiscent of Wolf Creek’s John Jarrett at times.
Janet Jauncey played his hysterical wife Penny with tremendous energy, but needs to watch her voice pitch in the higher register. Bryne Nickolls was suitable but not always comfortable as the rather reluctant paramour to Penny .
Peter Hoult as the cradle-snatching Pierce and Tiffany Browne as the sex kitten Gwendolyn were adequate in their roles.
This is one of the better productions by Daw Park Players in the past two or three years and deserves the belly laughs it received. A good night’s entertainment from a loyal audience.