“Mr Bailey’s Minder”, St Jude’s Players latest production, owes everything to Vicky Horwood’s expert direction, plus some magnificent interpretations from the excellent cast of four.
For the past couple of years I have been saying that any production featuring Jo St Clair in the cast is guaranteed to be a success, and once again this is the case. Here, she’s the daughter of a washed-up cantankerous old artist who hires an inexperienced carer, fresh out of jail, to try to nurse him back to good health.
However, this time Ms St Clair is expertly matched by Andrew Horwood as the artist, and Leah Lowe as his young carer, who now obviously has a glowing professional career ahead of her, should she wish to pursue it.
Hal Bruce ably completes the quarter as both a carpenter and the carer’s would-be suitor.
In her worthwhile program notes, Vicky Horwood describes the play as a mixture of aged-care, family relationships, teenage rebellion, and marital breakdown, tempered with love, kindness and forgiveness.
The carefully selected musical themes between the seven scenes make a big impact, as does Don Oakley’s brilliantly chaotic set, Ray Trowbridge’s spot-on sound, Debra Walsh’s noticeable production co-ordination, Peter Duldig’s artwork, Paul Tossell’s lighting and Thomas Batten’s stage management.
It must also be said that Lesley Reed and Debra Walsh’s program sets a new benchmark for such work.
Altogether a great piece of writing, that knits together well.