By Paul Kiely
Catherine Moore and Genevieve Hegney. Photo by Prudence Upton
Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified
By Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore
Directed by Janine Watson
Ensemble Theatre Production
78 McDougall Street
Season: 29/4/22- 4/6/22. Duration: 90 minutes, no interval. Bookings: https://ensemble.com.au
How does one best describe Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified? For my part, I am thinking Dumb and Dumber meets Kath and Kym. And yet, there is something new and exciting about this unashamedly Australian play which premiered with a standing ovation at the Ensemble Theatre this week.
The play tells the story of two disparate friends, Joanne and Felicity, who carry no formal qualifications to their name. The temp agency which they created is a lure to attract a variety of odd, short-term jobs. They then fill those positions themselves in order to survive from week to week. Of course, there is a growing debt building in their business which adds a real life dimension amongst the otherwise hilarious situations they find themselves in.
From museum guides to midwives to wellness instructors to clairvoyants to courtroom advocates and even truckies, there seems to be nothing these two ladies are not able to try their hand at. All tackled with the best of intentions and personalities that brim with humour.
As we share the exploits of the girls, they find new meaning in their relationship. There is an exploration of friendship, understanding, empathy, courage and motherhood throughout the story.
The creators of Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified are Genevieve Hegney and Catherine Moore. They also play the characters (Joanne and Felicity), bringing a depth in performance which perhaps only writers can. They both are masters of the comic medium and make full use of gestures, expressions and vocals to get the audience bellyaching.
Their talents go beyond writing and acting. They do a great rendition of Pat Benatar’s ‘We Belong,’ much to the enjoyment of the audience.
With guidance from Director Janine Watson, the creative team also excel in their roles. The set (designed by Hugh O’Connor) seems huge, with tall vertical drapes acting as a film/slide screen, mauve carpeting and storage boxes as versatile props.
Sound (Daryl Wallis), Costumes (Sara Kolijn), Video (Morgan Moroney) and Lighting (Kelsey Lee) ably contributed to make this production first class.
Unqualified 2: Still Unqualified is in the ‘must see’ category. With plenty of laughs, an excellent script and relatable characters, you are guaranteed to be entertained. There has to be a TV sitcom for development in here somewhere!