Right; Anna, played by Melanie Bolovan, and her brother Costa played by Carl Figueiredo
Wogs in Love
By Greg Andreas
Directed by Jane Oliffe
4 Stage Productions
Judith Wright Centre
Season: July 6-14. Duration: two hours 10 minutes including interval. Bookings: www.qtix.com.au
Greg Andreas’s play is a gentle, funny, and sometimes serious look at the perennial problem of first and second generation migrants. It was originally written back in 1986, lost, and re-written from memory for this, the third show from 4 Stage Productions.
It’s good to see a new professional company thriving and judging by the full house at the opening last night it will continue to do so.
The play is set in the 1980s, and because of the continuing shift in immigrants is a bit dated, but I guess the newer migrants go through the same problems and emotions, which is why the play works as a period piece.
Here Niko, the Greek Father, played accent perfect by Colin Smith, is sadly watching his two Aussie born children, Anna and Costa, lose their Greek identity as they assimilate into local society and dreams of returning to a patch of land he owns in Greece. He is a complex character who earns dislike, sympathy and even ridicule as he desperately tries to hold his family to Greek tradition. Then his rant on Greek superiority is one of the most racist spouts you’ll here anywhere, but you can understand why. It was a fine characterisation.
Anna, played by Melanie Bolovan, is having a love affair with Aussie, David, who was played by William Toft in a nicely understated performance for his first professional gig; and testosterone fuelled Costa likes to hang with the local Lebanese boys. This was good show of teenage angst from Carl Figueiredo.
The ever-suffering Greek Mum was played by Katrina Devery who created a good Greek character.
Dad refuses even to see David let alone let him marry his daughter, and has had enough; he arranges a marriage between Anna and a local Greek boy George (Richard Lund). Anna’s struggle for independence against her in built-in, traditional respect for her father are well dramatised by Bolovan.
In the middle of this volatile mix of emotion Greeks is Grandmother (Johansee Theron). She sleeps on the settee for most of the play as the battles rage around her. Her minimal movements however are theatrical highlights.
On the other side of the coin are David’s parents, true blue Aussie battlers played by Andrea O’Halloran and I particularly enjoyed Nixon’s laid-back performance and I was surprised to find out that he was in fact English because his accent was so good.
The action was played out strongly with a good energy level and maintained a professional standard all through
There are a lot of laughs in the show, some tense moments and some thought provoking touches too. The acting was of a high standard, but there were too many times when actors in conversation turned to the audience, which was not a good look. But I enjoyed the two hours of entertainment provided by a good cast and set of creatives..