Friday, 20 December 2002

Wanna Play, Dec 21, 2002

What: Wanna Play by Donna Bradshaw
Where: Courthouse Theatre
When: Tuesday to Saturday until December 21,2002
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Happy families is not the way to describe Wanna Play by Donna Bradshaw. The entire dramatis personae are dysfunctional and irrational.

The story revolves around a group of 17 year olds living in an unnamed country town. They struggle to survive the pressure of their peers, their parents or their boredom.

The play, directed by Karyn Kamminga,) is described as an unsentimental look at life. The story is relentlessly unpleasant and exhausting as characters suffer at the hands of others.

Sally ( Tara De Pasquale) hides in her bedroom to avoid her desperate mother's (Cristabel Sved) fights with her drunken, violent boyfriend. Ross. ( Peter Heward)

She tries to avoid a relationship with the loving Adrian (Tom Sansburg) because she desperately wants to escape the stultifying atmosphere of this parochial town.

Sally's unambitious friend, Rachel (Bianca Sirianni) is in a teenage love triangle with the dangerous and manipulative Joey (Tristan Pierce) and his submissive sidekick, Sean (Mark Pound)

 Bradshaw's script has some merit. Her dialogue is often well observed and the message is appropriate for younger audiences.

These lives are well depicted as depicted are sad, stupid, cruel and unloving in the greater part. Apart from Sally, only Adrian and his mother ( Louise Steele) have redeeming features.

No one has what he or she wants. No one has any hope of getting it.

The play is probably better than this production. The acting is amateurish and the direction heavy handed. Scene changes are clumsy and the scenes repeat themselves.

There is far too much shouting by actors who play the roles on one note. Eventually we feel nothing for them.

The dialogue and issues are repetitive. Individual characters seem to press home a single idea and this is tiresome.

It would be useful to focus the play earlier on sally as the cental character. It is unclear for some time, whose story it is.

The play is very earnest and verges on soap opera at times. There is attempted rape, two teenage pregnancies, drugs, an accidental death, brutal beatings and plenty of stand up fights between just about everyone.

This production has no dynamic range which interrupts it attempts to touch us with the tragedy of these lives.

By Kate Herbert

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