Reviewed by Kym Clayton
Director Matt Byrne has taken an excellent script, worked it capably with two talented and well costumed actors, placed them in a stylish and well appointed set, blended it with a very pleasing lighting and sound plot, and let it all weave its magic on a very appreciative audience. Written by Richard Alfieri, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is a well written comedy about Lily Harrison, an older woman who establishes a deep friendship with Michael Minetti, a gay dance instructor whom she has engaged for a set of six private lessons. As they dance their way through the repertoire, they learn more and more about each other and the play culminates in them sharing their innermost fears and secrets.
Kim Clark was superb as the extroverted and highly strung Minetti. His flamboyant body language was fun and eloquent ñ just the right amount of ëcampí to avoid being annoyingly stereotypical. Chris Busseyís characterization of Lily was captivating, a wonderful mix of confidence, superiority, grace and vulnerability. As a couple they didn’t perhaps evoke the full depth of despair and pathos that the script called for when it became clear that Lily was desperately ill with lymphoma, but this should develop as the season progresses. Opening night did however see some misty eyes in the audience!
The production elements were very creditable and underlined the overall sense of freshness, elegance and professionalism. Daryl Willshire’s choreography was fun, uncomplicated and confidently performed by Clark and Bussy. Importantly it didn’t interfere with their ability to deliver the text ñ it blended in well. Mitchell Geci’s lighting and sound was well designed and executed and totally sympathetic to the setting and the action. (Apart from the annoying telephone that kept on ringing even after it was answered!) Jude Menz’ costumes were stylish and chic. Matt Byrne and Sally Newman’s set design was excellent, perhaps MBM’s best to date – and it was well dressed by June Rivett.
This was a truly enjoyable night of theatre. Well done to all concerned.