Theatre Review: Family Planning

Frank Vickery’s play about miscommunication is absolutely hilarious.

Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 5 April 20165

Frank Vickery’s play Family Planning is funny. Under Samuel Creighton’s direction, Tea Tree Players’ version is very, very, very funny. In fact this version is absolutely hilarious (and well and truly up there with the Players’ best shows)..

Cast (l to r) Damon Hill, Rhiannon Shapcott, Chris Gallipo, Jayke Dolman

Cast (l to r) Damon Hill, Rhiannon Shapcott, Chris Gallipo, Jayke Dolman

Family Planning is not a farce, (well, not for the most part) although there is the funniest attempt at seduction that you are ever likely to witness – it is a comedy about relationships and, more importantly, communication. Hyperchondriac Idris Roberts misinterprets some overheard news, and his daughter has trouble relating the real news, which is that she is pregnant. Vickery’s script also plays with the communications theme by overlapping dialogue and action from the living room to an upstairs bedroom – something Creighton’s direction and extremely impressive set design handle well.

Karin Marks as put-upon housewife and mother, Elsie Roberts, does well convincing us that she is the fairly normal one of the adults in the Roberts’ household, whilst Damon Hill has a ball as Idris convincing us that he definitely isn’t. His whining as the ‘name a disease and I have it’ Idris is spot-on and very funny.

(l to r): Rhiannon Shapcott, Jo Allenby, Jayke Dolman

(l to r): Rhiannon Shapcott, Jo Allenby, Jayke Dolman

Young Rhiannon Shapcott handles the somewhat ‘straight’ role of daughter Tracey well, with Jayke Dolman as the ideal big, burly softie, and director Creighton makes a delightful little cameo (Hitchcock eat your heart out!).

Chris Galipo shines once again as gossipy, sex-mad next door neighbour Masie. If you ever need a female to play drunk, get Galipo – she does it magnificently!

The gem role in this play is bed-ridden Gran and Jo Allenby wears it like the Crown jewels. She is absolutely gorgeous in the part and, her Act Two monologue is a scene-stealer.

This is a great production of a great script and Creighton, cast and the Players should be extremely pleased with themselves. Never mind planning for a family, plan to see this fun production.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Twitter: @briangods

Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre cnr Yatala Vale Road & Hancock Road, Surrey Downs
Season: Until 9 April 2016
Duration: 2 hours including interval
Tickets: Adults $15 / Concession $13
Bookings: by phone to 82895266
at the theatre every Tuesday and Thursday from 10-00am to 1-00pm
online at


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