Theatre Review: Rose’s Dilemma

The ever-reliable St Jude’s have chosen a recent Neil Simon as their latest offering. Unlike the standard, Simon canon, this piece is gently sentimental and quietly humorous

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Presented by St Jude’s Players
Reviewed 3 August 2017

The ever-reliable St Jude’s have chosen a recent Neil Simon as their latest offering. Unlike the standard, Simon canon, this piece is gently sentimental and quietly humorous, lacking his signature, sharp, Jewish humour.

Directed by Adelaide theatre stalwart, Brian Godfrey, the play tells of writer Rose Steiner, who is ensconced in her Hamptons home, with her assistant Arlene, suffering from writer’s block and an ever-shrinking bank-account. The narrative kicks off from the fact that, also resident in the home is the ghost of her lover, Walsh McLaren. In an effort to help Rose, the late Walsh, who was himself a celebrated writer, persuades her to finish his last work, with the help of local one-hit-wunderkind author, Gavin Clancy.  Interestingly, Rose and Walsh are loosely based on Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett.

Lyn Wilson as Rose is confident, likeable and warm. However, she needs to work on her projection, as many of her lines were lost. One of the other patrons even told me that he had to move closer to the stage in order to hear her. Andrew Horwood puts in a solid performance as the phantasmal Walsh, although I would have liked to see a little more of the charisma that attracted Rose in the first place. Laura Antoniazzi is delightful as Arlene and she and Simon Lancione as Gavin, play well off each other, as their romance blossoms. Lancione took some time to settle into his character on opening night, but once he had it, the audience lapped him up. The main problem with all four actors was that they pushed the lines too much, possibly due to feeling that they had to push the accents. This made it sometimes clunky to listen to, and certainly much of the humour was lost to poor timing. I hope as the season progresses, they drop the accents down to a lilt and let the lines come more naturally.

Special congratulations must go to Mary-Jane Minear, whose set design is one of the best I have seen for a very long time. Not just a joy to look at, but also an excellent working space in which Godfrey could direct his actors, which he did without a missed beat.

This is an enormously enjoyable and pleasant evening in the theatre, with the always warm and welcoming St Jude’s Players. You’d have to be made of asbestos not to love it.

Reviewed byTracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Venue: St Jude’s Hall (Grundy Hall)
Season: Until 12 August 2017
Duration: 2 hours (includes a 20 min interval)
Tickets: Adults: $20 Concession: $16 Child: $7
Bookings: Tickets can be booked on-line via email: [email protected] Telephone bookings can be made on 8296 2628 or 0436 262 628

Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts Editor of GlamAdelaide.

 

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