Presented by Galleon Theatre Group
Reviewed 24 Oct 2019
The Prisoner of Second Avenue concerns a middle-aged couple who have an apartment in New York in the seventies when New York had the highest crime rate in the world, rising unemployment in addition to common city problems of noise and smells assaulting the senses. Mel (Andrew Clark), suffers the hardship of losing his job and is unable to find other work, complaining that no one wants to employ a fifty-two-year-old man. His wife, Edna (Sharon Malujlo), returns to work as a secretary to help pay the bills. In the meantime, Mel’s mental health is steadily deteriorating and everything in life is becoming too much for him, including the neighbours!
This depressing backdrop provides Neil Simon with many opportunities to uncover the hidden humour through his superior powers of observation.
Director Kym Clayton keeps the pace up, on the whole, and ensures the actors use their physicality to underline the emotional rollercoaster of their changing situation. Clark delivers a fine performance; his frustration and bewilderment are palpable and supported by great facial expressions. Malujlo is simply excellent and compliments Clark perfectly, producing a brilliant double act. Their accents are on point and consistent in quality.
Set in Edna and Mel Edison’s living room, act one sees a plethora of gags delivered with wonderful comic timing. The second act loses this comic focus as it concentrates on Mel’s’ breakdown and the arrival of Mel’s siblings Harry, Pearl, Pauline and Jesse. These characters are well portrayed respectively by Harry Dewar, Ashleigh Merriel, Anita Canala and Leanne Robinson but this is nevertheless the weakest scene due to the material being stale and predictable, and the pace losing the snappiness of the action to this point.
The set is static but the attention to detail a credit to designer Trisha Graham and her talented team. Lighting by Luke Budgen is also notably effective.
The audience were clearly entertained throughout and babbled excitedly as the curtain came down. This reviewer usually anticipates a good night out at Galleon and once again they have delivered.
Reviewed by Trish Francis
Venue: Domain Theatre, Marion Cultural Centre
Thurs 24, Fri 25, Sat 26 Oct
2019 @ 8pm
Thurs 31 Oct, Fri 1, Sat 2 Nov 2019 @ 8pm
Matinee: Sat 2 Nov 2019 @ 2pm
Duration: 2.25 hours with a 20 min interval
Bookings: Through the Domain theatre on 83756855 Mon thru Friday 9.30am till 5pm or thru www.galleon.org.au