Director and scriptwriter Steven Hopley has done a fine job crafting this funny, yet poignant piece of theatre, which brings an eye to the issues of homelessness in Australia and the concept of escaping from one’s social circumstance. It is extremely refreshing to see theatre that it unapologetically Australian, but still tells an almost universal story. Australia is full of clever storytellers and this premier production of A Fortunate Few is a good indicator of the talent we have.
Chris Miller as Mani does an excellent job leading the show. He effortlessly blends the classic Australian humour and brassness with a man full of heart and purpose. Everything about him felt genuine and as a member of the audience you couldn’t help but feel a powerful urge to root for him. In a similar fashion Victor Kline plays the foil to Mani as Thomas Urquhart, the only businessman I’ve heard of who doesn’t look out for just himself. Kline has a lovely, deliberate control on stage which speaks to his obvious experience as an actor and created what felt like an incredibly authentic portrayal of the character. Watching the two of these actors work together, coupled with Steven Hopley’s beautiful writing created genuinely moving moments that would then just as effortlessly change to full belly laugh moments.
Playing the romantic interest, Laura Urquhart, Emilia Stubbs Grigoriou has a beautiful character arc, which acts as a mirror for the audience to empathise with and shows how first impressions can change. Grigoriou has a charming quality to her performance which really allows her choices to shine through when she lets down her defences. As the final member of the ensemble, Brendan Layton has a hard job trying to stay relevant in a cast full of A+ actors, however small his scenes are though he is able to more than hold his own and creates two strikingly different yet believable characters.
With a small, but clearly defined set and good use of lighting, the production team have managed to create a thoroughly in depth and poignant piece of theatre. Steven Hopley’s intelligent prose creates a well-crafted snapshot into a modern Australian moment of time, of class struggles and of human behaviour, I would not be surprised to see this work taught in drama classes in a few years. I give this piece 3 and a half $5 notes and a cheeky look in the classified section.