Presented by Galleon Theatre Group
Reviewed 21 May 2016
Sex Cells by Galleon Theatre Group follows the office lives of four women who work in a sex toy call centre, Aphrodite. The story unfolds through discussions about their lives as they search for love, family and meaning. Overseeing them at work is their boss, Mr Causeway, who is searching for some companionship himself. Warren McKenzie’s production of this play trundles along slowly and, although not being terrible, struggles to gain enough pace to be engaging.
Each actor delivers their individual character arc well. Lesley Reed, as the older saleswoman, Lily, brings a nice depth to the character and her pleas for the love of her son. Although she takes a while to find her feet, being a little over-brash at the play’s beginning, her performance soon grows to be the strongest in the cast.
Anita Canala displays an impressive prowess with the French accent as Sylvie, who is desperate for a baby; undergoing several IVF treatments to achieve this. She delivers this struggle well and her story is most likely the easiest to understand and sympathise with.
Heather Riley, as multi-child mother Janice, and Laura Antoniazzi, as the young ‘pretty-girl’ Tiffany, do as well as they can but the script gives them very little to work with. Janice and Tiffany come across as stock characters, simply there to further the storylines of the other two women.
In the role of Mr Causeway, Brian Godfrey manages to bring a sweetness to the character and his secret love for Lily (although the direction to sniff her shoes seemed creepily unnecessary). He uses his body well providing good physical humour and his line-delivery provided most of the few laugh out loud moments.
There are two large issues with this production that stop it from being a truly enjoyable experience. The first is the play itself, which severely lacks substance in both plot and character. This provides the actors with very little to work off of and they do the best they can with such thin and bland archetypes. The second problem is the direction and choices made by McKenzie. Actors walk aimlessly back and forth across the stage seemingly for no reason; emotional monologues are delivered directly to the audience rather than in a more natural way; and every potentially emotional scene is marred by an awkward and unnecessary soundtrack.
Set design is strong, showing good use of levels and providing multiple areas for the action to take place upon the stage. The lighting is serviceable but it seems unnecessary for the lights to go up and down when the actors move into different parts of the stage. Costume design is similarly serviceable but Tiffany’s costumes just seem to be rehashes of old costumes – this is understandably due to the time pressure of costume changes.
Galleon Theatre Group’s production of Sex Cells has elements of potential, specifically from the five performers. Unfortunately awkward direction, poor writing and other odd production elements bog this show down and prevent it from becoming something better than it is.
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts Editor for Glam Adelaide
Venue: Marion Domain Theatre
Season: 19th May – 25th May
Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Tickets: $18 – $22