Henry Lawson Theatre Inc: All Sorts 2023 (Short Play Season) - Review by Matthew Doherty
Updated: Jul 11
Henry Lawson Theatre’s production of All Sorts delivers seven very different one-act plays. They range from being very funny, to very insightful. The best thing about this production is not only will you see something that you will no doubt enjoy, but you may be introduced to a genre or style that may be new to you. The cast and production crew do a fantastic job bringing the whole production together.
The Dancing Lessons
The first one-act tells the story of a daughter trying to connect with her mother who is suffering from dementia. It presents some very confronting themes with a lot of dignity and honesty. The relationship between Suzie Schwebel and Krystyna Patynowska feels very real, making this story all the more heartbreaking. Jack Maidment and Abbrielle Hooker have a beautiful chemistry on stage, and bring to life the younger versions of the mother and her husband. I really enjoyed how the lighting and sound were used to switch in and out of the memory and real life. The cast really made us feel like we had known the character their whole lives, even though they are only on stage for a short time.
This was a lot of fun, delivering some funny moments as well as a lot of heart and warmth. The whole cast did a splendid job at creating some very funny and memorable characters, showing the lives of different cats who live on the same street. Ranging from the pampered house cats to the strays. Any cat owner will get a real kick out of this one, but the themes are equally relatable even if you don’t own a feline. Clarinda Edwards and Holky Bramble really stood out giving very energetic performances. Although this one-act offered some levity in the production, there were some sombre moments delivered beautifully by Rhonda Hancock.
This was very different to anything I was expecting to see and gave a bit of variety in the night. Telling the story of two old friends meeting at a cemetery outside a house which is home to an unspeakable horror. The two professionals discuss ideas of horror and their differing opinions on philosophy and writing. Nicole Madden and Adara Eyre do a really good job at making this back and forth engaging. The chemistry between the two is what makes this story so compelling, you genuinely care about Maddon, and Eyre has you continually questioning what the true motives are.
Another really fun one-act, retelling the story of the hungry caterpillar, which quickly descends into a couple airing out their dirty laundry (literally). Rhonda Hancock and Corina Thompson have great comedic timing together, I particularly enjoyed Corina’s physical comedy. A really fun, simple story and the two actors bounce off the audience really well.
This was my favourite one-act of the seven, taking place at a funeral where an old “friend” takes the opportunity to try and seduce the newly deceased's wife. Bec Fletcher and Ian Fletcher use the space effectively and take us on a roller coaster of twists and turns as we explore the two's complicated relationship. You’ll find yourself loving, hating and sympathising with both characters in a matter of seconds, and this is very much a testament to the strengths of both actors.
One night Stan
This was a fun look at dating through the perspective of three women in very different stages of their lives. Anyone who has suffered modern dating will get some real enjoyment out of this one. Emma Taite, Holky Bramble and Heloise Telor deliver strong performances offering three very different perspectives on dating. All three actors did a phenomenal job and bounced very well off each other.
We do Weddings
The last one-act tells the story of a brand new angel being inducted into her new role in the afterlife. It is a very funny, clever and sweet play. The actors all have a very beautiful chemistry with each other, and their relationships feel very real. Angela Pezzano brings a lot of heart to the new angel finding her wings. I also enjoyed Nicole Smith’s performance as the mother hen of the group. It was a really wholesome play to end on.
Overall it was a very enjoyable production that offers something for everyone.