The Arts Centre Front of House team has done themselves proud with the way in which seating is organised, taking into consideration both COVID distancing and patron comfort. I was most impressed. It was my first visit to this Arts/Performance venue.
Noarlunga Theatre Co’s “Inspector Cluedo and the Curse of the Darjeeling Diamond” is played out on a functional set well used by the cast. Director Harry Dewar has assembled a better than competent cast for this somewhat retrospective romp. All participants demonstrate stage savvy and experience and tackle this musical play with zest.
Bronwyn Calvett as Lady Agatha exudes privilege and entitlement. Her vocal range is strong and true and she makes the most of her comedic moments. Ditto Linda Lawson as stage and screen vamp Diamond Solitaire working the stage with her over the top sex siren character. Both Bronwyn and Linda are the prime architects for the energy and animation of the piece. They are ably supported by Stephen Popowski who maintains a consistent Irish accent as Father O’Shea, Ruby the exuberant maid (Deidre Quinn), Rupert the ubiquitous self-important butler (Daniel Steel) and Leanne Robinson as Lady Agatha’s companion Crystal who covets Rupert with overt amorous intent. Inspector Cluedo (John Martin) affects a strong and promising entrance but his influence falls away somewhat along with his concentration and in the second act he tends to go looking for cues rather than clues! But he redeems himself in his well presented song and dance routines. It is not the easiest of tasks to sing against a recorded score and everybody did well in that regard. The finale treatment of “Impossible Dream” hit the right mark at the right time.
Now, it was first night and I’m sure that all the essential elements of comedy; pace, timing and overall continuity will certainly improve. There were some long pauses during which the Prompt was working overtime! Overall the performance lacked crispness and satirical bite. Lady Agatha’s malapropisms were fun as were Cluedo’s inappropriate word choices or confusions. But little routines like the one with the “What-not” could have been made more of. Make the obvious even more so and really ham it up. Why not?
The audience seemed well pleased with their night out, but I feel that more attention to detail will evoke a more spontaneous reaction and really get them onside.