Above: Milly (Sarah Hunt), Doreen (Del Halpin) and Jean (Shelley Jacks). Right: Doreen ((Del Halpin) Harry (Clem Halpin), Frank (Peter Maden) and Jean (Shelley Jacks).
A Kick in the Baubles
By Gordon Steel.
Directed by Dawn China.
Javeenbah Theatre Company
Cnr Stevens & Ferry Streets,
Runs until July 28. Bookings: www.javeenbah.org.au
The Javeenbah Theatre Company’s Christmas comedy-cum-family drama, A Kick in the Baubles, is one of those seasonal shows designed to showcase family tensions over the festive season.
Director Dawn China has brought together a first rate cast and crew to help unravel the tetchy relationships within the Baubles family.
The result is a familiar mix of angst and humour with most of the problems being exacerbated by strong competing characters fired up by alcohol.
However, the conflict comes to the fore as early as 7.15 am on Christmas Eve – before even one drink has been taken – when we first meet Frank and Jean Baubles (beautifully play by Peter Maden and Shelley Jacks).
The middle-aged couple have returned from their Christmas supermarket shopping and we quickly learn that Frank (who has been made redundant) dislikes the seasonal spurge, while Jean seems well meaning, but constantly irritated.
Much of the first act belongs to Frank (who pitches his distaste directly to the audience) and Jean who are constantly bickering.
There’s some respite when their air-head niece, Alex (Holly Cruickshanks is blessed with some of the light relief and funniest lines), pops around to explain that she’ll be spending Christmas with her boyfriend rather than them.
Things hot up on Christmas morning when Jean’s posh demanding sister and Alex’s mum, Doreen (Del Halpin), turns up with flirtatious morally questionable hubby Harry (Clem Halpin).
Del and Clem, who are two of the Gold Coast most experienced and valued performers, make their classical comic characters work as Doreen gets stuck into the grog (the couple only bring one bottle) and Harry gives us a taste of his wicked ways.
The other riotous pair is Gary and Julie (Adam Hellier and Cassie Baan), neighbours, who with Gary’s passion for karaoke and Julie’s mini-skirt give the show some earthy Yorkshire humour.
There’s another sweet and serious couple – played by Sarah Brock and Brock Honnery - who give the drama a change of gear and takes the audiences into pathos close to the play’s conclusion.
However, I leave their stories to the show’s audiences as I think spelling out their roles in Baubles would be a spoiler.