Sunday, 5 May 2013

Something Natural but Very Childish - Review

Something Natural but Very Childish is inspired by and based on short stories by Katherine Mansfield. The stage production was written and adapted by Gary Abrahams. The piece was skilfully directed by Julie Baz.  This is the Sydney première of an award winning Australian play.

I have to say from the outset that I expected more from an award winning play. The dialogue was very well written but it was just lacking. The stories revolved around three couples which were very predictable so there was no surprise or wow factor. The music too was a little too loud and very repetitive, perhaps even unnecessary in places.  That all said there were some outstanding elements and moments in the play. Notably the acting, directing and the costumes.

Something Natural by Very Childish looks at the lives of three couples set in Edwardian England.  Edna (Leah Donovan) and Henry (Kieran Foster) a young couple who first meet on the platform waiting for the train home. There relationship is based on dreams and the excitement of  first love.  I loved Henry's character it reminded me of Norman Wisdom. Mr Bullen (David Jeffrey) and Mrs Bullen (Carla Nirella) who play the dysfunctional married couple.  They spend their lives seeing how they can wind each other up. Mrs Bullen wants to escape and almost has an affair with Mr Peacock (Michael Faustmann) but realised when it comes down to it she just can't do it. The last couple Anne (Margaux Harris) and Reggie (Tim Cole) who are in the typical scenario they love each other but they never actually get together. Anne again is a great character, full of life and very bubbly. This is in stark contrast to Mrs Bullen who is miserable for much of the play.  The female actors in this production were very strong particularly Margaux.

The Edwardian costumes were very good, particularly the female costumes which were very elegant. Julie Baz did a great job directing this production. It is a fairly small stage at the Old Fitz but she managed to segment it and overlap the couples with their comings and goings seamlessly.

Something Natural but Very Childish is playing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre 129 Dowling Street Woolloomooloo until 25 May.  

(photo by Katy Green Loughrey)

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