Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 21 August 2019
Quick witted and ungainliness is the central hallmark of The Tea Tree Players new show Rookery Nook. A blisteringly quick script and a rapid succession of entries and exits gives the audience everything they would expect from a British farce.
The mild mannered Gerald Popkiss (Adrian Heness) is in ‘Rookery Nook’ on a small holiday organised by his aunt Gertrude (Mandy Lumb), who lives nearby, after his honeymoon with Clara (Rhiannon Shapcott). With his new partner due in a few days, Gerald looks forward to some time with his cousin Clive (Benjamin Forster). The two bright young things have their holiday derailed when Rhoda (Keyarra Maur), a damp young and pretty maid from up the road, requests sanctuary from her stepfather the raging Prussian, Putz (Tim Cousins). It becomes a great task for the duo to keep her hidden from other members of the community like the fierce Admiral Juddy (Steve Mulady) and the hen pecked Harold Twine (Robert Donnarumma). The situation worsens for the hapless Gerald and Clive when the gossip, Mrs Leverett (Chris Galipo) suspects the scandalous Rhoda is in the house. A typical over staffed and unnecessarily busy play as all good British farces are.
Heness and Forster work well together with their repartee a driving force of the play, bringing a pace and atmosphere that seemingly spread to the rest of the cast. There were some lovely performances from all the cast even though it is a busy script where every second sentence is a joke. Lumb and Cousins brought significant energy that was appreciable as soon as they entered the stage. Even some of the smaller parts like Poppy Dickey (Kelly Cusak) and the elusive and unidentified Mrs Possett, were entertaining and lively aiding to the light hearted nature of story.
The actors threw themselves at the show with unexpected rigor from the beginning of the play. Despite the plethora of puns there were occasions where the jokes missed their marks or the actors did not deliver them. This may have been down to the rapid pace of the show or the simple fact that is was so heavily edited, reduced from three acts to two. Furthermore, some of the jokes and the continuity of story would have to be compromised to bring the show down to an acceptable time limit. At times hard to follow but it never stopped being enjoyable.
Reviewed by Simon Lancione
Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre
Season: 21-31 August
Tickets: $15 – $17
Box Office : 8289 5266
At the Theatre between 10am and 1pm Tuesdays and Thursdays