Galleon Theatre Group’s current production, set in a retirement village, is a cracker. It is one of the best of several excellent productions I have seen from this group in recent times.
The central protagonist Charlie Fuller, (Andrew Clark) lives at “Ever Rest retirement village, in Southern California. Not your usual Scrabble playing, Bingo enthusiast or your common -or -garden retiree is he. Charlie spends his days “entertaining” that section of the village, “mature ladies” who have lived alone and are lonely, maybe downtrodden. Charlie convinces each of his lady callers that they have no need to be lonely and in fact his philosophy encourages them to do things or become something that she is not. Galleon’s production directed by Erik Strauts of “Moving Mountains” by U.S. playwright Lawrence Roman is a very funny comedy that not only provides Charlie with delightful companionship but gives credence to the currently held philosophies that such physical and social activities help to increase pleasant longevity. Charlie’s ladies come to believe that such activities could “move mountains” to overcome some of life’s hurdles.
Brittany Daw’s first -rate, realistic set on the awkward, narrow Domain stage is finely detailed to enhance Charlie’s assignations.
Erik Strauts has marshalled his superlative cast into a finely tuned ensemble, which is a triumph for him in cleverly eliciting the major theme of “moving mountains”
There were no weak links in the performances and the American accents (which often grate in Australian ears) were very nearly faultless.
This critic has not often seen Andrew Clark in better form (excluding Lady Bracknell). Lindy Le Cornu was a delight as Charlie’s cuddly Thursday’s girl, Gwen, The colourful one liners of Kathy Strauts (Harriet) were as funny as her cheeky revealed costume, and Josh Van’t Padje(Robert) was prepared to defraud the Tax Department in order to claim a liaison with Charlie’s married daughter Elaine( Sharon Pitardi). Adrian Heness was impressive as Polly’s “nephew” Marc who moved a few mountains after his tete- a -tete with Charlie. Charlie’s love for Polly becomes apparent but Polly (Shelley Hampton) does not respond to Charlie’s passion in the way he was hoping she would.
As Charlie’s daughter Elaine, Sharon Pitardi is the standout. She looks a million dollars in designer clothes and is initially unaware of her father’s motives and behaviour. She plays the role snobbishly, stylishly and with superb timing and great humour. She deflects her would- be lover Robert with absent- minded dexterity, producing a performance of enormous skill and charm.
This production is a triumph for Erik Strauts, his cast and crew and most importantly for The Galleon Theatre Group.