‘Two Weeks with the Queen’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by July 14, 2013

Two Weeks with the Queen’ is an adaptation of Morris Gleitzman book by Scottish born, Australian playwright Mary Morris. Morris is a BAFTA nominated and an award winning TV scriptwriter. Gleitzman was born in England, and is married to Mary-Anne Fahey (Kylie Mole from the 80’s) and now lives in Australia. Even though he has just turned 60, he is still one of Australia’s most popular writers.

Presented by the Stirling Players at the Stirling Theatre, Morris Place, Innaloo. The evening shows start at 8.00 pm until Saturday 27th July, with the Sunday matinees at 2.00 pm on the 14th and 21st.

 

The stage has no flats, the stage surrounded by black drapes. A few props have been specially made.

It is just after lunch on a hot Christmas Day in Sydney, Mum (Caroline Geraghty) and Dad (Jason Pearce) are sitting on the settee watching the Queen’s Speech. Their two sons are arguing as usual. The older son, Colin (Steve Anderson) is at that awkward teenage stage and never seems to agree with anyone. The younger lad, Luke (Seamus Harrison) has eaten an amazing amount of rubbish and feels sick. He is rushed to hospital with gastro, but the doctors are not happy.

When a few hospital visits become necessary, the stressed parents decide to send Colin to stay with his aunt and uncle in London. Colin has a great idea for getting the very best treatment for his kid brother.

Other than the central individual, Colin, there are twenty-five different characters in this play and director Carryn McLean, with simple costume changes (wardrobe Elaine Morgan) and a good range of accents by the cast, has done an excellent job in creating instantly recognisable, different personalities.

 

The two young men had huge demands made on them. Steve had a large amount of dialogue to learn and presented this with confidence. He had excellent enunciation and great interaction with the other players, but may I suggest his next step is to have a voice coach to help him develop a stronger second register? Seamus was superb and should be applauded for being accepted as a main player in the up and coming major production, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.

The one weakness was brought about by the 27 scenes. Five seconds delay by the stage team on entering the stage and again on leaving represents 5 minutes lost time over the length of the play, on top of the time taken for the actual scene shifting. A split stage could have overcome many of the delays and helped keep up the pace of the performance.

This is a very funny, easy to follow play for all of the family. A few tissues were produced by the audience in the later scenes. A pleasant story, well presented.