Reviewed by Laraine Ball
This absorbing play by Charles Smith weaves its way gently between the past and the present as it tells the story of three generations of the French family of Dumas. At the time of the play grandfather General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas is deceased and father also. Alexandre and author of works such as The Count of Monte Christo and The Three Musketeers, and his son Alexandre again author of The Lady of the Camellias, both have different perceptions of grandfather’s life story.
Director Rob Croser had fun with this play getting lots of comedy as well as dramatic moments out of the script. The action mostly flowed very well except for a couple of sections where it seemed to get a little bogged down with details before surging along again.
David Roach as Alexandre Dumas pére was marvellous, voluble, energetic and boisterous and enjoying himself completely. Peter Cortiss as Alexandre Dumas fils was excellent and did a great job of this complex character and Shedrick Yarkpai managed the double roles of Alexis and General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas extremely well although his voice was a little too quiet at times.
Peta Long was a vivacious and spirited Ida Ferrier, actress and mistress of Alexandre pére, Lyn Wilson played a wonderfully strong minded and independent George Sands and Nicholas Ely was splendid as the lily-livered Felix Harel.
Tom Carney was a charming and persuasive Victor Hugo, Matt Shannon a quietly restrained Napoleon and Kate Wyatt did very well in both her roles Marie Louise Dumas and Millie Mars.
The set Designed by David Roach was fairly basic and representational of the Dumas chateau. Set on a rake it did work well but in contrast to the enormous chimney piece, the rest of the set pieces looked insignificant and sparse. The costumes were lovely, suitable to the era and a credit to the crew Sandra Davies, Julie Dillon, Susie Xu and Sally Mattner, some of the hair styles however didn’t match the period at all.
This was a very interesting production and enjoyable to watch.