Presented by Galleon Theatre Group
Reviewed Thursday 17th May 2012
Neil Simon’s dramedy hits harder than most of his plays, beginning as a light comedy about an alcoholic returning home after ten weeks of rehabilitation. It ends with a circle of dysfunctional friends and family facing their inner demons, and the ramifications of those demons on others.
The play may not be comfortable viewing for anyone touched by addiction, but Simon has a gift for finding laughs in the darkness and sympathy in the unsympathetic.
Director Andrew Clark has cast relatively well. Joanne St Clair is commendable in the difficult, emotionally-charged role of alcoholic Evy but her overall success lacks enough subtlety to balance the character’s mood swings. Rachel Burfield is stellar as her vain friend Toby, as is Carla Hardie as teenage daughter Polly. Aldo Longobardi adds a fun touch of camp to proceedings as gay pal Jimmy, but he doesn’t find the emotional honesty needed for the character to have any real impact.
A lack of energy on opening night can probably be put down to nerves. American accents, on the other hand, were well realised and consistent across the board. Director Clark makes the most of the wide stage and keeps the action moving along at a nice, if not steady pace. The neat set is well realised by set dresser Judy Rogers, and Anne Louise Smith must be complimented on Toby’s glamorous make up and hair.
The Gingerbread Lady is not one of Neil Simon’s most successful plays, but his attempts at something darker than usual pay off with this challenging but enjoyable production.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre, Cnr Diagonal and Sturt Roads, Oaklands Park
Season: 17-26 May
Duration: 2hrs 30 mins (with interval)
Bookings: Phone Kym on 0437 609 577, email [email protected] or online