Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 9 February 2017
Tea Tree Players has long provided fun and entertaining shows filled with humour, charm and unexpected twists and turns. Their latest production of Miles Tredinnick’s Twist aims to continue that tradition with a multi-layered comedy-thriller involving a soap opera star and her husband’s tell-all biography that would sell much better if she were dead. Unfortunately this production is a perfect storm of slightly off elements that cause the show to be less than enjoyable.
Individually, all the production elements are serviceable. Performances by Carsten Oostema as the homicidal husband, David Woods, and Veronica Howson as the soap opera victim, Sarah Seeton are delivered well. Both actors handle the comedy elements but the characters are played too hammy making them difficult to engage with. Oostema should be commended for his consistency of accent throughout the show – something the other cast members struggled with.
Chanelle Le Roux and Richard Hobson also play their characters well as they slowly become embroiled in the plot but suffer from the same lack of engagement. Hobson’s fascination with his wig and other physical elements do serve for some of the show’s funnier moments.
Heather Riley makes the most out of her bumbling neighbour character bringing many smiles and chuckles in her few brief appearances. As the inquisitive Inspector Root, Nick Manning-Bennett portrays his character well with solid characterisation but is let down by the shows biggest problem – the script.
Miles Tredinnick’s script has several flaws that drastically effect this productions ability to succeed. The central murder plot is easy enough to follow but the characters are written in a way that they are incredibly hard to empathise with. In a genre where the protagonist is a murderer, making this character likeable is key. Random references are made in order to achieve some kind of comic effect and the final scene is excessively lengthy and ridiculous. It seems tacked on and does not tie up loose ends or provide a satisfying end to this production.
Lighting design and set design are both functional. This production is hindered by two lengthy set changes which seemed unnecessary. Kyla Booth, in her amateur directorial debut, does a solid job but there are multiple instances of characters wandering aimlessly or interacting with props for no apparent reason.
Normally if a production is weak in a certain aspect the others rise to support it. Unfortunately, while none of the individual elements is of an incredibly low-quality, the elements of this production come together in a way that is tedious and unsatisfying. This production and its performers does have some charm but with the feast of theatre that is the Adelaide Fringe so close, this one is hard to recommend.
Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio
Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre
Season: 8th February – 18th February
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: $13 – $15
Bookings: at the Theatre from 10-00am to 1.00pm every Tuesday and Thursday by telephone to 82895266 (and if necessary leave a message and a number) or online at www.teatreeplayers.com