Presented by Galleon Theatre Group
Reviewed 3 May 2018
The publicity describes this production as a dark comedy about the dark ages! That about sums it up nicely, with the emphasis on comedy. Michael Hollinger has written a play about moral dilemmas – we all face them – the concept of doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Of course, there are some things that are never right, right?
Set in a monastery on a nicely designed set, courtesy of Kym Clayton and Brittany Daw, director Lesley Reed has chosen her cast well and has given the characters a believable framework. With veteran actors like Peter Davies (Charles, the Abbot) and Andrew Clark (Brother Martin) the script is in good hands. Davies has just the right amount of moral wavering and Clark a surfeit of forcefulness and pragmatism. Brother Felix, Josh van’t Padje, is the young idealist who is only there because he believes he is responsible for his sweetheart’s death whilst Brother Olf, beautifully played by Mathew Chapman, is just bright enough to follow orders, maybe.
The start of the unravelling is the entrance of a peasant woman, Maxine Grubel (who plays her for every laugh) and the news that the bones of Saint Foy have mysteriously appeared at a rival religious establishment run by Charles’ sister Agatha, Lindy le Cornu. Desperate for a miracle the brothers accept the peasant woman’s offer to bring her daughter Marie, Ashley Penny, and her ‘husband’ Jack, Andy Steuart, to organise such an event. The music sounds right for the era and was adapted from music written between 1100 and 1500 by Kim Orchard, keeping the feel of the era.
Penny and Stewart are well matched and argue like a couple; they create the right illusion. Between Davies and particularly Clark and Steuart the one-liners have the audience in stitches whilst never losing the narrative. The last scene is hilarious with Le Cornu at her comic best and panic encompassing the entire cast. The end brings a lovely twist which most of the audience have anticipated.
This play is different, funny and maintains Galleon’s high standards. I thoroughly recommend it; we all need a good laugh!
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre
Season: 2 – 12 May 2018
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: $20 – $24
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