Henry Lawson Theatre Inc: All Sorts (Short Play season) - Review by Annalise Pittman
Updated: Aug 28, 2022
Henry Lawson Theatre’s production ‘All Sorts; features eight short plays that keep the audience laughing and considering life’s little lessons. The eight plays are well chosen and sit well together as a whole production, however, I wonder if the plays need to be shuffled a little as the first act felt more balanced than the second. The staging has been kept minimal which fits well with the short play structure and allows the audience to focus on the clever characterisation within each play. As I saw opening night I expected some things to not be as smooth as they could be, this was the case for the technical aspects. The transitions, lighting and sound were not as tight as it could be, however this was in no way a detraction to the work on stage.
A Bench in the Park:
The engaging actors who brought simple characters to life definitely carried this play. Despite a very simple script the two characters brought the idea that different ways of seeing life can bring different rewards. Robin Queree’s engaging characterisation brought to life the idea that conversations can be rewarding.
Who knew that ladies playing bingo could be funny! Despite some lines and timing issues the three bingo ladies kept the gossip coming. The trio of ladies worked so well together on stage and created some really funny exchanges. It was Angela Pezzano as Joan that was a standout with her physical comedy and hilarious characterisation. A surprising ending silences the gossiping ladies and brings the story to a clever conclusion.
This was one of my favourite of the short plays as it had a well rounded story that didn’t require any assumed back story. A couple wake up with a relatable morning routine but encounter a surprise that forces them to consider the mundane nature of life. Nicole Madden and Matthew Doherty present a relationship that is both funny and engaging. They use the stage well to keep the story moving and create characters that you feel invested in, despite the short time. It’s a hard thing to make an audience care about characters in a short period of time but I think that this play has achieved this.
If you’re looking for the unexpected then you’ve come to the right place! Another stand out play that is here to bring the humour and it has it in droves. The mundane start quickly changes to a shocking tale of the places life can take you after retirement. Rebecca Fletcher and Tayah Gulyas perfectly portray the opposing reactions of daughters. The overall star of this play is absolutely Rosie Crossing as the shocking Nanna. Overall the play comes to a hilariously well written ‘climax’.
Maybe it’s because I was uncomfortable with the idea of having to hide who you are but this was not one of my favourites. What I did enjoy however was the performances and the friendship between the two main characters was a joy. The relationship between Angela Pazzano and Tre Doyle has a real warmth and likability that is easy to go along with.
This story takes a few moments to piece together but it cleverly uses comedy to keep the audience interested. I felt that the ending was definitely the saviour of this piece. With Nicole Smith and Felicity Jean creating a beautiful dynamic. The sound at the start unfortunately pulled focus from the characters as did the mistaken addition set from the previous play.
Changing, Engaging, Ageing:
Instant chemistry is important in a short play and Rhonda Handcock and Amber-Mai Feeley have that. These ladies walk the audience through the tough mother daughter relationship and how to deal with change. Both actors did an excellent job of walking through a simple story that relied heavily on the reveal at the end.
Definitely a play here for fun. Just a joyful way to end the evening. A simple story brought to life by sound and well timed humour. The stars of this piece are definitely Rebecca Fletcher and Tayah Gulyas Whose physical comedy pulls focus for all the right reasons.
Well done to the Henry Lawson Theatre Inc. on a great production.
4/5 Liquorice All Sorts.