‘The Feminine Touch’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by October 27, 2014

‘The Feminine Touch’ is a trilogy of diverse, one-act plays concerning very different women. The 2-hour performances run nightly on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Stirling Theatre, Morris Place, Innaloo until Saturday the 1st November – with curtain up at 8.00 pm. There is also a matinee on the 26th October at 2.00 pm.

 

‘Snakes and Ladders’ was written by South Australian book editor, Tony Moore. Tony also has a thorough all-round knowledge of theatre practise. This short play was carefully cut down from his full-length play; however, this edited version still retains the depth of emotions and quality of the original. The play was directed by Karin Staflund.

       Two elderly sisters share a house together and they are seated in their lounge, reading. Emily (Christine Ellis) is a retired English teacher, and the other, Charlotte (Janet Weston) has spent most of her married life bringing up her daughter, Beth (Natalie Aung Than).

       The family has always been close, but Beth starts asking uncomfortable questions.

Three good actresses, who have proven themselves several times in the past, just did not seem quite tuned in on this occasion. Of the four scenes, the first two were excellent, but the flow drifted for the third, then, for the last and important scene, everything was back on track for a very poignant ending. Most enjoyable. It was the first night, and there were a couple of Town Councillors to see the show. Sterling are one of the best and most professional groups, but sadly s*** happens to the best. A couple got up between scenes to go to the back to make the coffee, there were several fluffs and then the house lights came on before the end of the play. A bit of a shame.  

 

  ‘Level 12’ is an adult-themed play written by local playwright, Kate Beck – who is half the woman she was a few months ago, 50 kgs less to be precise (be proud). The play was directed by Sophie Prober and assisted by Sarah Cubbage.

     The hospital lift doors open and a VERY pregnant mother, Florinda (Natalie Baggen) waddles in. The hospital orderly, ‘M’ (Nicola Chapman) pushes the button and the doors start to close. A young man, Jackson (Ben Constantin) just manages to squeeze through the gap. He explains that after many months of job searching, he has just got a position in the hospital and is running late for his first day.

     The lift motor starts, then there is a shudder and the elevator grinds to a halt. The lift is stuck between floors and communication with the repair centre is frustrating.

     All three have genuine reasons to get out as soon as possible – but will they manage to leave their ‘prison’?

This is a very funny, well-written play, performed by a young but magnificent cast. The actors completely captured the situation. ‘M’ who has a delivery to make, Florinda who has a huge delivery to make, and Jackson a new job, all totally insecure and petrified by the situation. The audience genuinely felt for each and every character. The pace was fast, but the enunciation still clear and not gabbled. A clever and very saleable short play superbly performed. Three born comics with excellent pacing and delivery.

 

  ‘Broken Slipper’ is a new slant on several fairytales blended into one madcap experience. It was cleverly written by WA talent, Yvette Wall. The director was Alide Chaney, who managed to capture and guide the talented cast carefully through the zany humour perfectly. Fun set and costumes by Olivia Colja.

     Cinderella (Sophie Prober) has broken the rules by refusing to marry fop, Prince Charming (Sean Bullock) and so bringing her story into disrepute. She is called before a Tribunal headed by Grandma (Ursula Johnson), of Little Red Riding hood fame, with the Wicked Witch (Clayton Zwanenburg – brilliant) – from Hansel and Gretel – as second in charge. Nevertheless, even the Tribunal’s administrator, Snow White (Sharon Greenock) was not safe from the powers that be.      Are Grandma’s ideals outdated? Or will the standards of old survive?

This play had some very funny lines, perfectly delivered by an experienced cast. The characters were richly observed and blatantly presented. The result was plenty of belly laughs. The makeup for the Wicked Witch, coupled with his unexpected personality brought the house down on several occasions. The play may have been about children’s stories, but there were a few adult themes.   The mood lighting for each of the plays was by Ian Wilson. Beautifully laid out programme in full colour, easy to read. So many programmes now have tiny font size and yet wide empty margins. Three very well produced and directed plays. The very different themes and genres made the time fly by. A most enjoyable night out.