Review - The Things We Do/ Behind the Scenes: light-hearted and very clever comedy
The Things We Do/ Behind the Scenes
Written and directed by John Caswell
Ad Astra Nova Theatre Company
57 Misterton Street
Season runs to September 6. Duration: one hour 45 minutes including interval. Bookings: www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=524902&
It’s always good to see a new production company for the first time and at Ad Astra’s The Things We Do/ Behind the Scenes a good time was had by all.
The company, run by a young and talented bunch of theatre people, is in its second season and the play is an original by member John Caswell. Unlike many young writers who tend to write dark dramas, this one is a light-hearted and very clever comedy. It is the play within the play scenario with a twist.
The four actors are characters in a play about the demise of a seedy one-star hotel, pretentiously known as The Chateau and at the same time they are the actors who play the roles as they are flmed in a TV documentary, Behind the Scenes that is shown in between scenes on a big TV screen.
It works well too and leads to a simply hilarious and unexpected finale.
In the small stage area a minimal set is helped by excellent lighting from Puddleduck Pictures, who also shot the video content, to create just the right atmosphere for the action. The play moved smoothly between scenes and the actors did a fine job with the dual characters.
Nathan Kennedy played Tom the maintenance man, one of the two remaining staff members of the hotel, and actor Ben while his co-worker, zany receptionist Nicole and actor Laney, was nicely played by Mikayla Hosking, although she did tend to swallow her words at times and lose projection. The two were convincing friends as they plotted to save the hotel from demolition and transformation into a strip club.
These were the plans of the villain of the piece Cameron, (actor Andrew), played nicely over the top by Arun Clarke.
The final character was Amelia the travel blogger and Instagram influencer (and actor Isabella). She was a multifaceted character and very well played by Louella Baldwin, an actor with strong stage presence.
Nicole thinks up a grand plan in which Tom has to seduce Amelia into staying longer and give the place a good write-up: and so the fun starts.
In the video documentary the cast were joined by the writer/director John Caswell, Rose Nguyen, Trent Werda and Ethan Liboiron and secrets are revealed, like Andrew and Isabella have recently broken up, which adds to the on-stage fun and games.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment handed out by this enthusiastic and talented troupe.
The theatre was created by the group from a factory storage area and a lot of work has gone into the creation of the space. The theatre is small, 36 seats for this show and a maximum of 50 for others. There is no stage and the seats are unfixed but fairly comfortable. The theatre is unlicensed but the company generously offers a free glass of wine. A big plus is heaps of free parking!
Check them out. Ad Astra Nova is a company that deserves to succeed.