‘The Big Casino’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 11, 2014

‘The Big Casino’ is the latest hilarious ADULT play by WA playwright, Noel O’Neill. Written in a similar style to Alf Garnett’s foul languaged, BBC classic ‘Till Death Us Do Part’, the laughs come flowing non-stop. The Premiere of this black comedy is proudly presented by the Irish Theatre Players, at the Irish Club WA, 61 Townsend Road, Subiaco, with shows at 8.00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until 15th November.

The theatre’s new committee have literally, laid down the red carpet to lead you into a plush, casino-like environment. Their aim is to raise enough money to replace their old element lamps with LEDs, and to renew the sound system.

 

The scene is the sitting room of a 1960s house in the East End of London. A very good set, with all of the trimmings and furniture of the era (artistic director Mary Murphy).

Around the dining room table, a group of men are playing cards. They are Bert, the overbearing house owner (Kim Taylor – magnificent), his simple son Harold, who hasn’t two brain cells to rub together (Cameron Leese) and Bert’s best friend, quiet Eddie (Noel O’Neill) who has just been released from prison. The group are gambling with peanuts for money, but Harold keeps eating the winnings.       

Next to the fire, reading the paper is Bert’s other son, the lazy good-for-nothing, Alan (David Buckley); in the opposite corner sits suave young Billy, a criminal in the making (Emilio Evans). This gang have decided to raise cash for a trip to America, and think that voluptuous Susan (Clare Mulchinock), who has a wealthy husband, may be the answer to their prayers.

 

The experienced director, Noel O’Neill and his most capable assistant, Caroline O’Donnell, have amazingly turned, what could easily have been a static sitcom, into an action-filled romp. The characters were perfectly believable; in fact, we have all met, or ‘know’, most of the individuals. The cleverly written dialogue was unique to each personality, with some very funny one-liners. Half the cast were relatively newcomers, but they were not distracted by having to speak with Cockney accents – all VERY accurate – and yet they still managed to keep up with the rapid pace.

Booking is essential, and The Irish Players have linked on to the ‘www.trybooking’ system, so that you will know in advance the number of seats still available. An excellent cast, working perfectly in tune with each other, generating a wonderful evening of chuckles. Highly recommended.