‘Honour’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by October 8, 2016

‘Honour’ is a poignant tale, written in 1995 by the audacious, Mount Eliza born playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith whose plays have been performed in three dozen countries. ‘Honour’ – great pun on a character’s name – was awarded the 1996 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.

This fine play can be seen at the heritage-listed Old Mill theatre, on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road in South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post. Curtain up at 8.00 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until 22nd October there are matinées at 2.00 pm on 9th and 16th October.

 

Greg Aylmore and Les Hart’s set is quite simple but very effective, too much clutter would have detracted from the dialogue. All of the walls are black. To one side is George’s dining area; with a raised, white front panelled, food preparation space. There is a table and chairs, also in black and white.

On the other side of the stage is Claudia’s flat, with a couple of comfortable, dark suede chairs.

John Woolrych’s fine lighting design is operated by techies, Sarah Christiner and Rex Gray. Be careful not to clip the music between scenes, fade it as carefully as the lighting. Not enough hands? Use your feet.

There were 18 mini Acts, smoothly handled by Stage Manager Maureen Harvie. The incidental music was well selected by Grant Windsor.

 

        With her laptop on the dining table, thirty-year-old journalist, Claudia (Ruhama Geiger), is taking notes for the cover and promotion of middle-aged author, George’s (Alan Kennedy) latest book.

        George, who still has his youthful charisma and good looks, has done very well out of his writing. However, Claudia’s interviewing technique is a little more invasive and probing than one would normally expect. In fact, could this strikingly attractive, very independent woman be seducing this father figure?

        Soon George is giving his wife, Honor (Maree Grayden) some bad news. After of 32 years of loyal, loving service to her husband, Honor is now redundant. Their 24-year-old daughter, Sophie (Jessica Warriner) is stunned, never having had someone so close announce such traumatic news, she is numb.

        Will Honor remain her husband’s doormat? Will George get his comeuppance?

 

Joanna Murray-Smith is renowned for not writing stage directions, descriptions of her characters or the story’s timeframe. This can make direction very difficult, however, multi-award winning director and Old Mill Theatre board member, Dale James, has produced another triumph. She has dexterously taken the actors through each vignette, where two of the four characters confront each other. Dale has helped the actors subtly, allow the audience to see their true personae.

The cast have clearly shown their admirable acting talents, as they each in turn, change from a position of power to that of weakness, and vice versa.

This tender, beautifully observed play is a little slow to start, but soon some of the self-righteous comments and acerbic lines, have the audience gasping or bursting out with laughter. I am sure that everyone in the audience will have thought ‘That is just like …. from down the street!’

A punchy little show that all married couples should see – with their partners.