Presented by Light the Lamp
Reviewed 22 February 2020
This play was commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. In 1996 it won an Australian Writers’ Guild award for author Margery Forde. The play is written around memories gathered from ordinary Queenslanders who lived through the difficult war years – both at home or abroad.
I believe the company’s name Light the Lamp comes from the significance of the lamp on the school crest of Kildare College as the female actors in the play are from the Senior Drama Class of 2019. Sara Jmel gives a convincing portrayal of The Mother – desparate to hear from her son overseas; or comforting her daughter as she thrashes around in a dreadful nightmare, which sadly came true for so many families.
Jana Muldoon and Demi Van Kasteren both played a wide range of characters with skill and emotion. I especially enjoyed Demi squabbling with her little sister – wonderfully rendered by Renae Manfredi; or Jana as principal reading out the names of those old scholars who were dead or missing to the accompaniment of projected pictures of the fallen.
And the two males in the cast also deserve a mention. Cristian Rosella as the Australian soldier wanting to pick a fight with the American GI played by Shahil Chaudhary. The young men had a tough job portraying so many different characters but both performed very well.
What was lacking, was any sense of the characters/actors as an ensemble. There were many, many changes of clothes – done by coats, jackets, hats etc placed on hat stands at the rear of the stage – but the overall impression was a disjointed collection of vignettes rather than a coherent narrative. Additionally, the fact that many of the costumes were from the wrong era, or were missing buttons, belts or were even worn inside out, did not help the sense of cohesion either.
This is a very, minor point but it would also have been nice to know who wrote the Acknowledgements on the program – was it the director Shaun Castles?
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 5: 3.5
Venue: The Parks Theatre One
Season: 22 – 23 and 27-28 February at 7pm
Duration: 65 mins
Tickets: $20 Conc $15