‘Gentlemen Incorporated’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by February 23, 2017

‘Gentlemen Incorporated’ is a very funny comedy with an added touch of farce; young NSW lecturer, Deborah Mulhall, wrote it. Deborah has written several plays and is very much involved with professional and community theatre.

This fresh, Australian comedy is being presented by the Darlington Theatre Players Inc., at the Marloo Theatre, 20 Marloo Road, just off Greenmount Hill. The producers have played safe and put up a warning sign saying ‘Adult Themes’; it is a little saucy and the storyline is for adults, but there is nothing offensive.

The 130-minute show can be seen on Wednesday, Friday, and a Saturday nights until 11th March. There are Sunday matinées at 2.00 pm on 26th February and 5th March.

 

The set is a very smart, modern flat in the Sydney CBD. The walls are a pale grey, and the grey tile floor is slightly darker. The décor is simple – the contemporary minimalist style – but quality. There is a bar, a sofa and antique chairs. In the corner is a desk.

On one wall is a beautiful oil painting by Catherine Spadaccini, and the rear wall has a photoprint by Missy Cat, of a snooker game, called ‘Hail, Hail the Gangs all Here’ showing James Dean – Damien’s hero.

On the stage apron was a well-furnished, commercial office scene. The whole show was smoothly stage managed by Belinda Beatty.

The set was designed by Hayley Derwort, and built by the two men in her life – her dad, Allan, and boyfriend, Ashley Johnson. George Boyd supplied friendly advice. Extra assistance came from David Bain and Adrian Ashman.

David Bain’s lighting design was operated by Shelly Miller, and Greg Rusha’s soundscape operated by Eden Sambridge.

 

      Immaculately dressed, an insurance salesman, George (Owen Davies) has just made another appointment on the phone with a client, when there is a knock on the front door. It is George’s old Uni friend, hippy and slightly alternative, Marcus (Jake Dennis), returning after a year wandering around the world.

      Marcus phones his girlfriend, Isabelle (Brittany Isaia) to tell her he is on home soil.

      George reveals that he has decided, for business reasons, to use the more vibrant name, Damien. Seeing how busy Damien is, Marcus – poverty stricken from his trip – asks if he can get a similar job.

      When Marcus telephones his mother, Elinor (Marsha Bennett), he lets it slip where he is staying and in typical maternal fashion, she arrives at the flat within minutes.

     After a few days, Isabelle tells her work cool and well-organised boss, Marion (Alyssa Burton) how Marcus is no longer the wild rampant male he was before his trip. Marion has some wise advice.

 

This is director, Hayley Derwort’s second comedy, having given us a hysterical show last season. She searched for a new Australian script and was thrilled to find this hilarious piece. Hayley has selected three, well-proven cast members. Owen as the owner of an unusual business was smooth and unflappable. Brittany had several very different moods to conquer, from randy to broken hearted, which she did with aplomb. Alyssa, as always, gave a great performance as the cool, stiff upper lipped, boss who had several secrets and great advice.

When two first time actors auditioned, Hayley took a risk and wisely put her faith in them; the result was excellent. This is Jake Dennis’s first time acting, although he has a huge amount of experience as a musical entertainer, both on stage and TV.

After a course at the highly respected, Ali Robert’s Acting School – and perhaps now approaching a mid-life crisis (joking x) – Marsha Bennett seen here on the stage for the first time, has courageously thrown herself into this major part in a full-length play. With good direction and a solid cast around her, she shines in this production.

I thought it was going to be a straightforward storyline, but there were quite a few twists. This well-paced play is great fun. Most enjoyable.