Theatre Review: A Tender Thing

Theatre Review: A Tender Thing

In 2007, young dramaturg Ben Power, was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, to develop a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for older actors.

By

Presented by Growling Grin Productions

Reviewed 8 September 2015

In 2007, young dramaturg Ben Power, was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, to develop a Romeo and Juliet for older actors. Inspired by many an actor’s regret that they never got to play the role when younger, Power took words from the play, combined them with words from other works by the Bard, and put them in a modern context. As a script, A Tender Thing, works beautifully.

New company Growling Grin Productions, is to be applauded for taking on this work, and approaching it with such obvious enthusiasm.

Adelaide theatre veterans Lesley Reed and Lindsay Dunn, play the middle-aged Romeo and Juliet. They are both actors with a strong stage presence, who can handle the language elegantly. However, the absence of passion detracted from the play’s intent and meant that points of high emotion were a tad lack-lustre: a” kiss before dying” is unlikely to be a peck on the forehead.

Photo: Lucie Bauer
Photo: Lucie Bauer

Director Olivia Jane Parker, did a competent job, but seems to have missed an opportunity to use every-day stage business to give the play a more contemporary rhythm. Most of her direction was of the “down-stage declamatory” style. At times, if felt like the staging of a radio play.  She also chose to use Benjamin Orchard and Ruby Bown, as non-speaking versions of the younger Romeo and Juliet. Although a nice idea, their scenes were a bit awkward, and didn’t really add anything. This is only Ms Parker’s second outing as director, and she will certainly be a young theatre practitioner to watch.

High praise to Growling Grin Productions for taking on work such as this, instead of the same-old same-old that so many Adelaide companies rely on.

This production deserves full support.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Venue: Star Theatres   145 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Hilton
Season: 8 – 12 September 2015
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins (including interval)
Tickets: $20.00 – $25.00
Bookings: Star Theatres – official website

Growling Grin Productions – official website

 

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