Tempo strikes from crime to comedy
Theatre / “Ebook of the Month”, Tempo Theatre. At Belconnen Neighborhood Theatre till June 3. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.
TEMPO Theatre director Jon Elphick has momentarily deserted Agatha Christie in staging an English comedy, “Ebook of the Month”, as an alternative of his typical basic murder-mystery, however he has actually not deserted the Nineteen Fifties.
This entertaining manufacturing of a 1958 play by Basil Thomas is ready firmly through the period of what the late Barry Humphries would have referred to as “niceness” within the stiflingly uninteresting house of a lazy minor British MP whose shy daughter has written a bodice-ripper ripper of a novel.
Eighteen-year-old Betty is handled as a baby by her father Edward Halliday MP (Kim Wilson) and mom, (Rina Onorato) so when the novel is picked up by a writer and made “Ebook of the Month”, her household go into shock and what follows is of the “what may presumably go fallacious?” selection.
Of notice is that the play was later was a movie by Gerald Thomas, director of all of the “Carry On” movies.
However Basil Thomas, ostensibly writing a straight British comedy of manners, was in actual fact nicely forward of his time, and within the second half of Act I, he plunges us into the pages of Betty’s guide, titled (after Walt Whitman) “Naked Bosom’d Evening” because the characters, thinly-veiled caricatures of her nearest and dearest, overact by all of the cliches of adultery, alcoholism and drug-taking.
This proves a present for Elphick’s solid, that means that every actor has two roles, the bizarre one and the exaggerated model of a extra humdrum existence and so they all make a meal of it.
Sarah Jackson as Betty makes an efficient transition from teenage recluse to femme fatale within the play inside a play as she steers round her good-looking however indifferently-talented younger journalist neighbour Nicholas (Ryder Gavin).
Chris McGrane nearly steals the present together with his joyous stage-Scottish presence when he alters from respectable teetotal doctor to alcoholic lecher.
Debra Byrne as maiden aunt Marcia veers between spinster and sex-goddess however has her greatest second when, as an alternative of being horrified by the libidinous subject material of Betty’s novel, is shocked by a break up infinitive.
To finish the rogues’ galley, Anna Hemming as seemingly grievance maid Doris and Tempo newcomer Paul Cowan because the blustering Colonel Barnes-Bradley serve to level up the hypocrisy of the opposite characters.
Elphick’s brightly-coloured set is enticing however sufficiently odd to offer us the sense, because the script calls for, of a Georgian mansion redecorated in dangerous style.
That is an affectionate manufacturing of a well-written comedy; I solely want the tempo may have been a bit sooner.
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Ian Meikle, editor