Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 1 April 2017
Simon Williams’ Laying The Ghost is almost regular Tea Tree Players’ fare for its audiences, but not quite. It is NOT a farce but rather a gentle comedy. The story is set in a home for retired actresses and revolves around Margot Buchanan, her ageing film star ex-husband (who spends Act Two as a ghost: hence the title), his current wife and his current, very young mistress.
The play is wordy (especially in Act One) but can be very funny given the right pace. Unfortunately, on the night reviewed, the pace seemed to be somewhat lacking from a couple of performers; in particular, Fiona Stopp as Margot. Stopp seemed uncertain on a few lines and quite a few cues. Also, even from the back of the theatre and with this reviewer’s poor eyesight, she didn’t look anywhere near her supposed stage age of 70.
The lack of pace could have been due to a number of factors: direction; the fact that the actors had just performed a matinee; or the fact that they over-enunciated. This last sounds strange, but playing retired RADA trained actresses made them speak beautifully and clearly (a little too much so, thus slowing down the pace.
The exceptions to the rule of dragging pace were Chris Galipo, giving one of her usual high standard performances as ‘psychic’, zany Freda, and Timothy Cousins as Sir Leo; although his heart attack at the end of Act One didn’t seem to have much motivation behind it – mainly due, again, to a lack of pace from some of the other performers.
The always creative Damon Hill, seems to have out done himself this time with his scenic artistry. His English country garden set is absolutely glorious.
While not one of the Players’ best efforts, it’s still an entertaining night of good community theatre.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Tea Tree Players’ Theatre
Season: Until 8 April 2017
Duration: 2 hours 20 mins
Tickets: $13 – $15
Bookings: at the Theatre 10.00am to 1.00pm every Tuesday and Thursday, by telephone to 82895266 (and if necessary leave a message and a contact number) or online at [email protected]