Reviewed by Kerry Cooper
Nothing is more entertaining than a farce that is done well. Director Kym Clayton demonstrates that he knows the genre, with his wonderful casting and tight direction. An English tale that was written in 1980 by esteemed playwright Alan Ayckbourn has all the absurdity and character quirks; add the Christmas season in the mix and we find ourselves witness to the dysfunction that family gatherings seems to highlight.
A sex-starved housewife, a virginal spinster, a puppeteer, a neurotic drunk, a couple of neglectful husbands, a visiting novelist and a pessimistic bigot make up this family of misfits. What could possibly go wrong? The text provides us with many laughs, but addresses the insecurities of the characters.
The practical set allows for the divide between rooms without masking any of the action. The scenery is festive with tinsel wrapped around the staircase and a large Christmas tree in the sitting room. Holiday music, dancing reindeer and merry music aid the cheery vibe.
The talented cast did a fine job in bringing the neurosis out in their characters. Mari Nield as housewife Belinda did well to hold it together, her desire for house guest Clive played well by Simon Lancione, was evident. Lindsay Dunn is exceptional as the patriarch of the family. His obsession with weapons and any kind of discord is a lovely contrast to the jovial setting. Dunn’s unique timing and cutting dialogue was cause for many laughs.
Bernard is brought to life by Brian Godfrey. His delivery highlights his insecurity as a doctor and a would-be puppeteer. The puppet show rehearsal in act two is a highlight and will have you doubled-over with laughter. Rounding out the cast is Joanne St Clair as clumsy Phyllis, Maxine Grubel as Rachel, Charlotte Batty as Pattie and gadget loving husbands, Scott Battersby as Neville and Adrian Heness as Eddie. Each demonstrated wonderful comic timing with their portrayals.
This production is a lovely escape or reminder of our own impending family gatherings. Although the play seems to end abruptly, you in no way feel short-changed. Galleon have once again produced an enjoyable night at the theatre.
Some of the cast of Season's Greetings.