RSS

Tag Archives: Cerri Davis

Manly Mates

Sir Robert Askin was the longest-serving premier of New South Wales in the twentieth century… as long as you don’t count little Bobby Carr, who served eight months longer, but whose term unfortunately stretched into the twenty-first century. It will not be news to many that such petty distinctions actually matter to the ruling class. It certainly wasn’t to me; which is why, when Frank Hatherley’s play Manly Mates landed on my desk, I was keen to see it produced in Canberra.

A fictitious story based on posthumous accusations levelled at Askin, Hatherley’s play plonks the jovial premier into a hotbed of gambling, womanising and crime (sometimes consecutive, other times concurrent). Joined by stoners, journalists, cops and shonky American poker machine salesmen, the scene in the private Octopus Room at the Manly Hotel is all too reminiscent of more recent rumblings of the political machinery behind closed doors in both New South Welsh and federal politics.

For this production, which later came to be declared the last of Canberra Dramatics’ productions, I handed the reins to James Stevens, who has done a great job with an unwieldy script and a large cast on Tuggeranong’s small stage. The show rolls along from one laugh to the next, and on opening night, despite a slow start, they developed a full head of steam for the hilarious finale.

It is great to see Michael Miller, who has performed in many of Canberra Dramatics’ shows, reprise the role of Askin in the company’s final production; he has a swagger befitting any crooked premier, and is ably supported by Rebecca Nicholson, another veteran of Canberra Dramatics’ productions, as the enthusiastic Pat. Don Wilkinson also returned for this production, as did Robbie Matthews, and these friends were joined by a number of performers who had not performed with Canberra Dramatics before, most notably among them Margie Sainsbury who landed the enviable role of Lady Molly Askin, and lends her an air of forced grace.

Although I haven’t had a lot to do with this last production, it has been a pleasure to see some of the journey this cast and crew have taken. They struck me from the beginning as a very cohesive group, and I am especially glad that James Stevens took on the task of directing them. Cerri Davis, who has worked in a number of different capacities with Canberra Dramatics over the years, also did a fine job in her first role as Production Manager.

In all, it was a great pleasure to see this hilarious play staged in Canberra, and it is a great finale to five years of productions.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on Thursday, 27 January 2011 in Canberra Dramatics, Canberra Theatre, Pure Theatre, Theatre

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mrs Holt

Now, I’m not in the habit of commenting on shows that I’ve written myself, but I can paste here a transcript of Bill Stephens’ comments on Mrs Holt, which is one of my own shows, which is currently showing at The Street Theatre…

Canberra Dramatics are a local theatre group which is committed to the development of new plays by playwrights from the city of Canberra and the surrounding region.

Their newest production, which is currently running at The Street Theatre until next Saturday 16th August is Mrs. Holt…written by Canberra playwright Trevar Alan Chilver.

I went along to the opening night of Mrs. Holt last Thursday night and discovered a thoughtful, entertaining and engaging play – not so much about aging – which I might have expected given the setting is in a nursing home ward – but more about changing attitudes and expectations between the generations.

I particularly liked the performance given by Gay Evans as an irascible, old patient called – intrigueingly – Zara Holt …who is the subject of the play.

I have not seen Gay perform before, but she is obviously an experienced actress – who has the ability to wring every ounce of comedy – and pathos – from her role to invest it with depth and interest.

Pete Ricardo, as the male nurse Jack Harris, also impressed with a well judged performance…the other actors in the cast Sarah Daphne, Sarah Ritchie and Cerri Davis.

Staged in a simple – effective and appropriate setting, this is probably the best play I have seen so far from Canberra Dramatics.and although it would benefit from eliminating some of the long black-outs between scenes which allow the pace to drop seriously… if you are at all interested in local playwrighting it is well worth your time to get along and see it.

Mrs. Holt runs at the Street Theatre until next Saturday 16th August. You can find out details of performances and performance times by ringing the Street Theatre or visiting their website.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on Monday, 11 August 2008 in Canberra Theatre, The Street Theatre, Theatre

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,