Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 23 August 2017
You can always guarantee that you will leave Tea Tree Players with stitches from laughing, and while there were plenty of laughs to be had, there was also an unexpected darker side to this comedy. Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club is a very realistic look into the lives of three women who also happen to be widows, who visit their husband’s headstones and have formed the appropriately named club for it.
Director Robert Andrews is in familiar territory here as he has directed this play once before, and the three leading ladies are also back once again reprising their roles! He knows what works and knows how to work with the cast to ensure they deliver what is necessary. Andrews has also designed the magnificent set which looks stunning on stage, with scenic art from Damon Hill. The cemetery in particular was very well done and transitioned very quickly back to the house setting with help from the very efficient crew.
Lighting effects used were simple and effective, and the use of spotlight at certain times to highlight characters in the same scene but different parts of the cemetery was done perfectly. Andrews was also to credit for this, along with Lesley Brittan, and Susie Daniels for Stage Management. Costumes used were spot on for each character, in particular Mildred’s hat and Lucille’s ‘fake fur’: credit to Jo Allenby.
Tina Hall, Theresa Dolman and Lesley Main all deserve the roaring applause they received on opening night. The chemistry they all share on stage is clearly shared off stage as well, and that’s why it is so convincing. Hall plays the smart and sensible role of Ida perfectly, and it is a character that seems to be suited very well for her. Dolman also matches her character Lucille, and plays the flirty/fun part with ease, but it’s in Act 2 where she really shines as Lucille’s true feelings and emotions come to play. Main gives Doris the warm and kind-hearted feel, and all three of these women know how to handle and cover any small hiccups that can happen on an opening night.
Rick Mills plays Sam, the man who manages to unknowingly come between the three women, and Mills is a natural with the role. Sam is a very quiet and calm character but he makes him such a likeable guy that you can’t help but sympathize with him. Hall also does this with Ida and I found myself relating to her and her situation the most. Heather Riley also makes an appearance in Act 2 as Mildred, and Riley has made the most out of a small role with a simple facial expression and line here and there enough to make her shine.
Tea Tree Players always manage to deliver fine theatre as the audiences never seem to leave disappointed,.and this was clear from this latest production, The Cemetery Club will certainly be one leaving you with many thoughts that can relate to your own experiences and friendships in life as well.
Reviewed by Daniel Knowles
Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre, Tea Tree Gully
Season: 23 August – 2 September 2017
Duration: 2 hours 15 mins
Tickets: Adult $15 / Concession $13
Bookings: at the theatre every Tuesday and Thursday between 10-00am and 1.00pm
by telephone to 08 8289 5266.
online at www.teatreeplayers.com