Reviewed by Sally Putnam
The arrival of a mystery woman at the funeral of much-loved comedian Dave Thursby tells us that things are about to go badly wrong – and they do.
Wife After Death by Eric Chappell, is a traditional safe comedy delivered by Tea Tree Players to an appreciative audience. It has plenty of good one-liners to hold the attention and draw enough satisfying waves of laughter to please any cast, despite some obvious flaws, particularly the pace of the action.
Karin Marks brought a satisfying relish to her role as Kay, the mystery woman, while Sophie Gardner was refreshingly natural and energetic as Jane, the wife of Dave’s agent, Kevin. Sam Evans produced a pleasing cameo performance as Kevin and Hayley Mitchell, in her debut performance, had fun as Laura, the glamorous and self-absorbed widow.
The two main characters, Harvey and Vi Barrett were a mismatch, however. It was a struggle to believe in them as a married couple; wrong in age, shape and physicality. As a wise-cracking comedy writer, Harvey (Mike Phillips) needs to come across as fast thinking, more self-satisfied and pleased with himself. Vi needs to be much bigger and slower in movement than the over-sized clothes were able to achieve for Bronwyn Ruciak.
The set, although bland and lacking any real connection to the character of the dead comic, was a perfectly adequate backdrop. Costumes, lights and sound were unobtrusive and workmanlike.
As a first-time visitor, I enjoyed the experience and generally felt we were in safe hands.