Theatre Review: The Explorers Club

The Explorers Club is full of wacky characters in ridiculous situations, and the laughs are fast and frequent

Presented by: The Stirling Players

Reviewed: 22 March, 2024

Oh, the joy of a new comedy! Written in 2013 by Nell Benjamin and set at the turn of the century, this excellent script focuses on the development of women in the field of science. The Explorers Club is full of wacky characters in ridiculous situations, and the laughs are fast and frequent.

Director Emily Currie extracts every scrap of comedy from this lively script. Bob Peet’s set design allows for easy movement and the costumes by Gillian Cordell, Emily Currie, and Charlie Thorne complete the picture of the era. Kudos also for the unusual properties courtesy of Lucy Johnson and the director (the snake is magnificent).

Currie was lucky enough to have a stellar cast — not a weak link to be found. Angela Short and Gary George play off of one another beautifully, Joshua Coldwell is slightly manic as Harry Percy, while Steve Marvanek is the epitome of stuffy. David Salter and Matthew Chapman verbally spar as Professors Cope and Walling. Brendan Clare as Sir Humphries is every inch the British Government man. Benny Woodrow takes two small parts with varying accents. 

Actually, many of the accents vary, including the two sisters that Angela Short plays (one of whom is definitely Welsh) to the apparent New Zealand accent that Professor Cope sometimes demonstrates!

The challenging role of the unknown native is played with great creativity by Ky Speedy. With foreign dialogue and a costume consisting partially of paint, he is a hilarious foil to many of the other characters.

Supported by a solid production team, Paul Tossell (lighting design) and Phil Short (sound design), this production is new, clever and very funny. It was an unexpected gem.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: Stirling Community Theatre
Season: Until 13 April
Tickets: $20 – 27

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