Theatre Review: David Williamson’s The Club

This show is an isthisyours? And Insite Arts production and is obviously designed to ask us to confront some aspects of our past behaviour. To achieve this it puts women in the roles of this quintessentially male production, challenging the stereotypes.

By

Presented by State Theatre Company and KOJO
Reviewed 9 April 2019

This show is an isthisyours? And Insite Arts production and is obviously designed to ask us to confront some aspects of our past behaviour. To achieve this it puts women in the roles of this quintessentially male production, challenging the stereotypes. To complicate matters more there are only three cast members instead of the usual six, so each of these exceptionally talented women play two roles. Often their two characters are in the same scene, dealt with by a hilarious swapping of wigs on stage. Difficult to describe but mostly it works and is very funny (until it becomes a little too much).

Each of the cast, Louisa Mignone (Gerry and Geoff), Nadia Rossi (Ted and Jock) and Ellen Steele (Laurie and Danny), have mastered the voice and physical stance changes for every one of the characters; they barely miss a beat. Rossi manages to age well for her characters and Steele is every inch the footballer, complete with mannerisms. Mignone has managed to take on the fake sincerity which hallmarks Gerry and does the funniest double takes as the only character that seems to notice the absence of the person they were talking to (you have to see it to understand).

The set for the first act is a believable clubroom, besser block walls and assorted club photos with the necessary meeting table and chairs and it works well. In act two, which is more surreal, the designer, Renate Henschke, has given us a canvas wall with slits in the door to allow entry and exit and the green grass of a playing field. Suddenly these women dressed and behaving as men become women and although very funny in places, this is where, as an audience member, I lost the plot. The whole concept was clever but somewhere in the second act it became too clever for its own good.

However, director Tess Leong has done a fine job in making us confront the way we accepted such blatantly sexist behaviour in the 70’s (and beyond) and thought of it as the ‘norm’. She has also produced a very funny play which is well worth a visit!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Photo credit: Chris Herzfeld

Venue: The Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season:  5-20 April 2019
Duration: 2 hours 10 mins (including interval)
Tickets: $30 -$76

Bookings: http://statetheatrecompany.com.au/buy-tickets/



Overall
4.5

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