Author Jake has women troubles: they are on his mind; they are in his mind. He only has to think about them to have them materialise and speak the dialogue he gives them. But what happens if they start writing their own conversations? The women in Jake’s life are his second wife, Maggie, who seems about to leave him; his film obsessed sister, Karen; his daughter, Mollie (at the age of 12 and 21); first wife, Julie, who was tragically killed in a car accident; analyst and therapist, Edith; and Shelia, whom Jake has a relationship with during a six month trial separation from Maggie.
Jake’s Women is playwright Neil Simon at his best – the play is witty, imaginative, beautifully poignant and moving. Jake’s Women is Galleon and director Warren McKenzie at their best – the production is just as witty, imaginative, beautifully poignant and moving as Simon’s script.
McKenzie obviously understands Simon and has worked well with his cast to produce eight very different and memorable characters.
The always excellent Andrew Clark is phenomenal as Jake. Clark is on-stage for the whole show (apart from 30 seconds) and never falters or flags. He gives Jake an impish likability and energy that thinly hides neuroses galore and manages to flip between reality, imagination and breaking the ‘fourth wall’ to talk conversationally to the audience, effortlessly. Clark is an actor who makes one sit up and take notice of him, while thoroughly enjoying his performance.
As second wife, Maggie, Mari Nield has the difficult task of presenting two different “Maggie”s, which she handles with aplomb. Joanne St Clair is absolutely wonderful as sister, Karen, and her Brooklyn/Jewish accent is to die for. Eilish Devlin is delightful as 12 year old Mollie; with Molly McCormack matching her beautifully as the older Molly.
Laura Antoniazzi captivates as first wife, Julie; Anita Canala impresses as Shelia; with Laurie Mulgrew being suitably no-nonsense and straight (as her wonderfully coiffed hair) as psychiatrist, Edith.
This is a never-before-seen Neil Simon play as far as Adelaide audiences are concerned, and after seeing this great production of it, one has to wonder why? Yet another feather in Galleon’s almost full cap!
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre, 287 Diagonal Road, Oaklands Park
Season: 30 April – 9 May 2015
Duration: 2 hours 30 mins including interval
Tickets: $18.00 – $22.00
Bookings: Phone Galleon (Joy) on 0437 609 577, email [email protected] or book online through the Galleon Theatre Group website.