Presented by Tea Tree Players
Reviewed 10 Oct 2019
Community theatre groups who diverge from their usual fare occasionally to present something a little different should be applauded. That being the case, Tea Tree Players should receive a standing ovation. Usually known for their expertise with British farce (their production of Tom, Dick & Harry recently won a Best Comedy award), their latest production is still comedy but with some delightful differences; the main one being that it takes the form of a ‘live’ radio play.
Playwright Joe Landry’s Vintage Hitchcock is a clever reworking of three classic 1930s Alfred Hitchcock British films (before Hollywood discovered him), The Lodger:A Story Of The London Fog (1929), Sabotage (1936) and The 39 Steps (1935).
Director Selena Carr has cleverly integrated the concepts of radio performance with stage performing. She has the art of directing ‘over the top’ acting (which is what it was in those days) so that it never goes into the bounds of embarrassing.
Not one of the nine performers (Adrian Ceroni, Kieran Drost, Tina Hall, John Hudson, Hayley Mitchell, Harrison Morris, Aled Proeve, Alan Shepley and Rose Vallen) is ever still for more than a couple of seconds. If not ‘performing’ the radio script, they are providing sound effects, playing Super Numeries or ‘being’ the radio ‘actor’ that is their onstage persona.
Although each of the nine cast members have their own little ‘solo’ as it were, they combine to make a perfect ensemble. The attention and concentration from each actor is impressive and it is evident that each and every one of them is enjoying the whole concept; therefore, so do the audience.
Carr’s set design is delightful and workable, and if you get bored (which you won’t) there are a multitude of props and bits of costume filling up the stage adding to the colour and mystery. On the technical side, Mike Phillips needs to be congratulated for his operation of the onstage microphones.
Being a “Hitchcock”ophile, this reviewer picked up and appreciated all the clever references to the man and his films; but you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this wonderful, funny and interestingly unusual production.
Well done to Carr and her cast and crew, and to Tea Tree Players for daring to be a little different and pulling it off well.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Tea Tree Players Theatre
Season: Until 12 Oct 2019
Duration: 120 mins including interval
Tickets: Adults $17 Concession $15