‘Three, One Act Plays’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by August 17, 2017

‘Three, One Act Plays’ is a 140-minute trio of short, diverse one-act plays. All of the tickets for this short season are at the special bargain price of $10.

This fun collection is being presented by the Garrick Theatre Company, at the Garrick Theatre, 16 Meadow Street, Guildford. The 8.00 pm performances are on 4 nights only, Wednesday 16th, Thursday 17th, Friday 18th, and Saturday 19th. No matinée.

 

‘Game of Tiaras’ was written in 2015, in the pantomime genre, by the intelligent, American playwright, Don Zolidis. Don’s hilarious play ‘An Unspeakable Triumph of Supreme Brilliance’ was superbly presented recently at the New Norcia, Holy Cross College in Ellenbrook; here, another youth group, TAG – The Garrick’s teenager group of actors – are in great form, thanks to Gail Lusted’s tutoring.

This very funny play is overtly based on ‘Game of Thrones’ blended with ‘King Lear’.

The scene is 1450 in and around a mediaeval castle. The set is simply a solid ‘oak’ throne. The costumes are of a very high standard.

       Two narrators (Claire Lenson, Nicola Kinnane) are sitting on the stage apron, reading their motoring magazines, as they tell us the following tale.

       The elderly king of a Magical Kingdom (Jonathan Hoey) decides that rather than leave a Will, that he should now divide his Kingdom between his three spoilt and jealous daughters, Cinderella (Victoria Pavy), Belle (Darby Tabb), and Ellie (Natalia Smith). The daughters inwardly realise that whoever survives, inherits the whole estate. The battle of the tiaras begins.

       Any good-looking woman is soon disposed of. Even poor Snow White (Kayla Hirschi) does not last long against the guards (Amy Lock, Elena Hanson) and the hooded executioner (Aleisha Crouch). Her death is confirmed by a sprinkling of crêpe paper blood, delivered by the Blood Packet Guy (Matthew Roberts). When the herald (Arianah Tilli) dies, the animated snowman (Patryk Smith) attacks the King’s jester, Sméagol (Marik Gabathuler) having a fight to the death.

     The sophisticated Prince Charming (Deakhan Lowrie) on seeing his chance to grab the Kingdom, starts working his charm on the three daughters; but he does not reckon on the suave French Prince (Luke Osborne) backed by his brave soldier (Elijah Weighell) arriving on the scene.

     Who will win the Kingdom?

 

Caitlyn Roberts and her assistant Anish Royan directed this play. They kept the young actors’ entrances and exits smooth, the pace was perfectly maintained and did NOT drop off as the play progressed – a common mistake with youngsters. The cast comprised all acting standards, from new-to-the-stage right through to some of the older cast members who have already developed an admirable stagecraft.

The script had a very dry sense of humour, requiring a special delivery, unusual mannerisms and plenty of facial expressions, and so I was quite surprised at how well the cast managed, as they soon had the audience laughing aloud, and loving every moment.

Plenty of belly laughs – very well done.

 

‘Milly and Joan’ is a magnificent drama by WA award winning playwright, Yvette Wall. The superbly developed characters, the powerful and realistic dialogue, blended smoothly into the tremendous story threads makes this one of the best short stories that I have ever seen.

The scene is Milly’s room in an old folks’ home. There are three armchairs and a coffee table.

     Being unmarried, with no surviving close relatives left, and the onset of Alzheimer’s, loveable Milly (Kerry Goode) spends most of her day sitting alone with Biscuit, her teddy bear. Biscuit and Milly are enjoying each other’s company, when one of Milly’s high school friends makes one of her regular, three monthly visits – this is the bigoted, self-centred, uncaring, and annoying Joan (Anita Bound).

     Milly has trouble recognising this lifelong friend – or does she? Perhaps her senility is not as bad as Joan thinks.

 

Yvette Wall, who this year has proved herself as a likely nominee for Best Actress, directs this play. Having such an acting talent has allowed her to bridge the large gap between being a writer, and being capable of directing one’s own work; the two rarely go together.

I am sure that directing two major talents, Kerry and Anita, must have been a joy. The whole audience are certain to have seen one of their relatives, portrayed in this play.

The acting was outstanding, as you were taken from joy to suffering.

This play should be placed on an international agent’s script list – the potential is huge.

VERY many congratulations to all concerned.

 

‘Sisters of St. Judas’ is a madcap play by Yvette Wall.

The scene is the office in the Sisters of St Judas convent. There is a desk and chair. The authentic costumes were supplied by Carol Hughes.

   The convent’s Mother Superior has gone to Rome to take bread and wine with the Pope. She has left the slightly wacky Sister Job (Fran Gordon), in charge of the nunnery. Sister Job’s assistants are the trendy, somewhat worldly Sister Jezebel (Melissa Skeffington) and the hormonally challenged Sister Gabe (Paul Anderson).

     Then there is the loopy, aging Irish nun, Sister Benediction (Karin Staflund) whose aim, after watching TV programmes, is to fly to Heaven. Sister Monk (Sharon Malcolm) is a raw younger nun, with little knowledge of real life. She has been on a vow of silence for some time, but now has so much information that she would like to impart to Sister Job.

     One day, the area’s Superior, Mother Superior (Claire Westheafer) comes to evaluate the Sisters’ work, on behalf of the ‘Sister of the Year’ competition.

 

This comedy was ably directed by Janet Brandwood. Janet had some great visual ideas that the experienced cast delivered very well. However, I felt that little extra touch of magic was missing from the script. I know that with unusual comedy styles like this, that it can take a few live performances before the playwright sees any minor errors, and how to rework the dialogue. This was the play’s first performance, so I have full faith that Yvette will have the action refined quickly.

The storyline was fresh and gave everyone plenty of laughs at the end of a good night out.

 

Quite often trios of short plays are poorly written, or with very little effort being put in by the actors and directors, however this trio is a ‘must see’. ‘Milly and Joan’ is one of the best short plays that I have seen in years.

Try to catch this collection. It is only on for a short season and is almost fully booked.