‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ reviewed by Gordon the Optomby Gordon The Optom September 7, 2015
‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ is a collection of 28 short monologues and memories, based on the 1995 book by Ilene Beckerman. Two Beverley Hills’ sisters, Nora and Delia Ephron, adapted the story. Between them wrote the screenplays for ‘You’ve Got Mail’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, receiving a few original screenplay, Academy Award nominations.
Sadly, Nora recently died aged 71, of acute myeloid leukaemia.
This series of brief monologues is being presented by the Melville Theatre Company, at the Melville Theatre on the corner of Stock Highway and Canning Highway, Melville. This production can be seen at 8.00 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until 19th September. There is one matinee at 2.00 pm on Sunday 13th September.
The attractive set, comprised four, open, wardrobe units, with colourful hatboxes on a shelf above. The garments hanging on the racks were in groups of mauve, red, green and burgundy (décor by Barbara Lovell, Kit Leake). At the side of the stage apron, was an office set – thanks to Peter Bloor, Ross Bertinshaw, Susan Lynch, Jacob, Lars and Vanessa Jensen.
The lighting and sound (Lars Jensen) were well designed and operated, with some clever touches to create the correct mood. At one point the luminescence even matched the script dialogue – electric blue.
The narrator, Gingy (Joy Northover) sits at the side of the stage with an easel of beautiful artistically drawn fashion cards (superb, but no credit in programme) that remind her of her lifetime of outfits. Some getups bring warm memories, whilst others make her cringe. The garments recall three marriages, along with various tragedies. Her lifespan of clothes begins with a Brownies uniform and extends through many eras of her life.
With four women (Cassandra Gorman, Petrina Harley, Sue Lynch and Kayti Murphy) dressed in black, playing numerous characters, we hear of parents’ inability to choose trendy clothes – preferring ‘sensible’, the first bra, to the little black number for the school ball.
Then there are the magical materials of the day, healthy woollen outfits knitted by Grandma, sugared cotton dresses through to Spandex. Then there are those beautiful leather boots, and the matching accessories.
We learn how many lovers lost to the wrong choice of clothing.
Vanessa Jensen is one of Perth’s most respected directors, so not surprisingly the direction of this show was slick and beautifully paced. When friends are relating an event, there is always one who can really keep you open-eyed and anticipating the next part of the story; Vanessa has her whole cast doing this. The actors’ faces and bodies illuminated their deepest inner thoughts. In short, two or 3-minute episodes for dozens of topics are examined in this lifetime capsule of clothing; most episodes have the audience laughing aloud.
At first glances, this looks like a ‘chick play’, and certainly, the ladies in the audience in their own daily lives, will have experienced most of the observations. However, the men were laughing just as much, as they saw their partners portrayed on the stage.
The style of this show reminded me of ‘The Vagina Monologues’, but on a much lighter level.
When the whole audience leaves the theatre with a broad smile, then you know the show is a hit.
Great fun, from a strong cast working perfectly as a team.