Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Sandwiches , Jan 21, 2009 ***

By Elise Hearst & Nicholas Coghlan, by Melbourne Town Players
75 St. Georges Rd, Fitzroy, Jan 21 to Feb 7, 2009
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

There is much to recommend the inaugural production of this new company, Melbourne Town Players. Sandwiches is compellingly performed by Terry Yeboah (Billy) and Lauren Urquhart (Paula) playing the brother and sister who, although adults, seem to be trapped in childhood roles and memories.

The script by Elise Hearst & Nicholas Coghlan is evocative and lyrical. It is not a linear narrative but rather an exploration of the relationship between brother and sister interspersed with the private musings, secrets, obsessions and dreams of both Billy and Paula. They recall stories about their mother and conjure up childhood games such as the almost forgotten skipping rhyme, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush.

On an old suitcase turntable they each play vinyl albums that resonate, reminding them of poignant or comical stories from their past. The music ranges from nursery rhymes to classical music and 1950s rock and roll tunes to which they dance as if in an old-fashioned dance hall.

Yeboah and Urquhart are an engaging and playful duo. They slip in and out of adult communication and childlike petulance, echoing the brother-sister patterns of childhood. Ming-Zhu Hii (OK) directs them imaginatively, layering the relationship with simple physical activities such as dancing and drawing.

The performance is in a room over a shopfront so the design cleverly incorporates the Edwardian wooden fireplace. It is an intimate show for a dozen people who perch precariously on stools. Beware! On a hot night it is almost suffocating up there – but hand-held fans, water and wine are provided.

By Kate Herbert

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