Presented by South Australian Playwrights Theatre
Reviewed 24th May 2018
Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy is a heartfelt play, written and directed by Adelaide local Matt Hawkins. It explores relationships and the importance of forgiveness – with plenty of wry jokes sprinkled throughout. The play is vivaciously brought to life courtesy of the South Australian Playwrights Theatre.
Frank is a retiree who has grown reclusive since his divorce and would rather spend time pottering in his garden shed than socialising at Rotary. Brendan Cooney’s portrayal of Frank is endearingly cautious, showing the heart behind his timidness. Frank’s daughter Tracy – portrayed by Kimberley Fox with the perfect mixture of caring and exasperation – buys him a laptop, with the hopes he can stay in contact with family and friends via email.
Across the world in Nigeria, and located on the other side of the stage, we meet Ishaku. Desperate to raise funds for his latest melodramatic film venture Ishaku joins forces with Jamilah, an internet fisher who scams people out of their money. When Ishaku emails Franks, mistakenly thinking he lives in Alabama not Adelaide, a strange friendship is born – one that brings Frank back to life and puts him in jeopardy.
Stephen Tongun as Ishaku is full of enthusiasm and kinetic energy. He does not downplay Ishaku’s cunning nature, though this does not prevent him from genuinely caring about Frank. Jamilah, played by Sheila Ablakwa, is larger than life and has great on-stage chemistry with Ishaku.
Surprisingly, there are no clear villains here. Hawkins explains each character’s motivation, and if given the opportunity they would redeem themselves – though perhaps not in the way you expect. Frank’s journey shows us all the lengths we would go to find acceptance and friendship.
Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy is a beautiful story, well executed by cast and crew, which will leave you with a smile and a tear.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Venue: Bakehouse Theatre
Season: 23rd May – 2nd June 2018
Duration: 90 mins
Tickets: $18.00 – $28.00