Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Don’s Party

David Williamson’s play, Don’s Party, has been described as an Australian version of an English drawing room/bedroom comedy

Presented by Milton Penhaligon
Reviewed 2 March 2017

This David Williamson play has been described as an Australian version of an English drawing room/bedroom comedy and the many entrances and exits of the characters certainly put me in mind of this style of play. The promotional blurb on the Fringe website promised:

A play that dishes up an astute, hilarious glimpse into the disillusionment of post-prime adults

Sadly, I found it neither astute nor hilarious and I experienced the disillusment, rather than seeing it portrayed by the actors. The production beginning 10 minutes late turned out to be an ill omen of what was to come.

The script focusses on a slice of life of the disparate characters as they come together at a party on election night 1969. The play is not about politics but rather focusses on the human failings, attitudes and foibles revealed by the partygoers as they become increasingly drunk. For such interactions to work, and be convincing to the audience, the direction and performances have to be sharp, tightly focused and very well timed. All of which was lacking.

None of the actors appeared to actually ‘be’ in character – it seemed they had put on a costume and just recited their lines. Even this was not done well as cues were missed, lines fluffed and repeated until the other actor found his/her place. Given the play’s focus is on the people, their attitudes and interactions, I would have expected every actor’s attention to be on the action on stage not looking around the audience – perhaps searching for friends or family.

As Alison Croggon said about a 2007 Melbourne Theatre Company production of Don’s Party: ‘My boredom meter started creeping into the orange zone’ and I left at the interval

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Rating out of 5:  1

Venue:  Theatres Two at Star Theatres, 145 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Hilton
Season:  4-5 March
Duration:  105 min
Tickets:  Full Price: $15.00, Concession: $10.00


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