Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 10 September 2003
Certified Male, Sept 10, 2003
Certified Male by Scott Rankin and Glynn Nicholas
Her Majesty's Theatre, From Sept 10 to October(?), 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Certified Male, written by Scott Rankin and Glynn Nicholas and directed by Terence O'Connell, is still hilarious four years after its inception.
It is a galloping, goofy comedy show about four corporate guys who go for a weekend retreat to a tropical resort in order to restructure the company.The boss, Jarrad, (Frankie J Holden) is going through a life changing crisis.
The threat of his restructure strikes the fear of God into his three over-worked executives, McBride (Peter Rowsthorn) Alex (Glynn Nicholas) and Howard (Berynn Schwerdt). Fearing for their jobs the men confront their insecurities.
Holden plays the straight guy to the three goofballs who work for him. Each represents a different sector of the high achieving corporate raider.
Nicholas is exceptional and charming, as always, as the insipid family man, Alex, who is afraid of the wrath of his upwardly mobile wife.
As the frazzled, rage-filled and thrice divorced McBride, Rowsthorn is achingly funny as he blusters and guffaws, looking as if he is about blow a fuse.
Schwerdt plays Howard, the confident, smarmy, perpetually single womaniser with great wit and manages to make him likeable despite his smugness.
The beauty of the show is its simplicity and unpretentiousness. The stage is almost empty apart from several gorgeously painted backdrops, a few chairs and a table.In pride of place on stage also is a versatile duo of musicians: Greg Riddell on grand piano and Zoe Knighton on cello.
The play intersperses witty, sometimes moving monologues with hysterically funny physical comedy, episodes between the four men and some lively and seven entertaining songs by the likes of Paul Kelly and Mark Seymour.The title song, Certified Male, and the finale, John Wayne, epitomise the issues in the show.
It is all funny, but some of the highlights include Nicholas's rivetting and precise mime, Alex and McBride getting lost in the jungle, the attack of a rabid monkey and a rescue at sea while the group is marlin fishing.But the gut buster is probably when the three execs get blotto and face off with their director.
The inspiration for the show was Steve Biddulph's book, Manhood. The men talk about broken marriages, affairs, bravado, pornography, sex, children, work and their overwhelming fear of failure.
This is identification theatre at its best. The two and a half hours zip by like lightning.