By Douglas Kennedy
Images by TTL Photography
One O’clock From the House
By Frank Vickery
Directed by Dawn China
Gold Coast Little Theatre
Season ends December 11. Bookings: www.GCLT.au Phone: 07 55322096..
Popular Gold Coast community theatre director Dawn China is a ‘safe pair of hands’ when it comes to black comedy in a quaint British setting.
Dawn, who gave us Ladies Day at Javeenbah Theatre Company last year, has returned to family life with Frank Vickery’s One O’Clock From the House.
While Ladies Day saw a group of workmates off to the races, getting a bit tipsy, and letting their hair down, One O’clock focuses on a family seemingly in mourning.
The idea is that Dad has died and left four daughters to sort out his funeral and ultimately squabble over his will.
There’s Mariam (Shelley Jacks), who is incredible tearful and according to husband Austin (Jimmy Corbett) totally insincere, pregnant Maureen (Peta Schulz) and bossy Margaret (Di O’Ferrall).
The fourth member of the clan, who gives the play its twists, is mentally challenged Mavis (Lilias Davie), and then there’s extended family members too numerous to mention.
The cast line-up adds up to 14, which explains why it is popular with community theatres, but less so with producers who have to bank roll it.
Cutting through all the extremities, One O’clock is all about arranging a family funeral in North Yorkshire in the mid-1980s and focuses on the eternal bickering and differences that are part and parcel of family life.
How funny you find this scenario is a personal consideration as there’s no doubt that some will laugh out loud, while others will merely chuckle.
This reviewer was in the chuckling class pushed on by an enthusiastic Sunday matinee audience who appeared to lap up this crazy family.
A note to all would be reviewers never rise above the sensibilities of you fellow audience members who have a good instinct for what’s popular.
Previously this reviewer has been wrapped over the knuckles for not taking note of the assistant director who in this case is Barry Gibson.
I will confess that Barry is a good mate and has given me a good insight into the workings of the show behind the scenes.
I am a firm believer in only reviewing what the audience can see, after all a show ultimately belongs to its audience.
But there’s lot of creatives behind the scenes who make a show happen and they should be given credit.
In this case I would like to mention the team that put the set together under the watchful eye of Russell Williams as well as Lawrie Edmonds’ lighting design.
Community theatre depends on team work and the Gold Coast is blessed with folk who give their all. One day they are starring in the show and the next sitting in the box office selling tickets.
That’s community. Bless ‘em all. And do yourself a favor and have a chuckle with Dawn and friends.