Saturday, 18 June 2011
Home for Lunch, Shy Tiger, June 18, 2011
Home for Lunch
By Rebecca Lister with David Bardas, Shy Tiger Productions, Chapel off Chapel, until July 3, 2011
Star rating: ** 1/2
We all fantasise about the wonderful things we will do when we retire, but often the fantasies are sweeter than the harsh reality of a life lacking clear direction, routine, purpose and support structure.
These weighty issues are explored in Home for Lunch, a play by Rebecca Lister with David Bardas, a retired clothing industry executive. This is identification theatre for retirees.
Dennis Coard is credible as Steven, a curmudgeonly, routine-driven man who reluctantly sold his engineering business and retired. Steven’s long-suffering wife, Heather (Margot Knight), finds life trying with Steven at home all day so spends time with her well-intentioned but interfering sister, Margaret (Kirsty Child).
Matthew King is sympathetic and funny as thrice-divorced, retired architect, Barry, who contacts Steven to form a retired blokes club.
Both men are desperately lonely, struggling for meaningful ways to spend their days, rather than listening to talkback radio jocks (Stig Wemyss), or reminiscing about past glories.
However, their friendship and other relationships in the play are not fully formed. Home For Lunch is an unpretentious, inoffensive play but it meanders and needs a big edit. The script misses an opportunity to create a cracker-jack comedy about older people stuck in boring retirement or stale marriages.
Unfortunately, Lucy Freeman’s direction is unimaginative with uneven pacing and slow scene changes and the colourful, multi-level set (Tanja Beer) is an awkward space for actors to navigate.
This play breaks no new theatrical ground but it is a pleasant way for a patient, undemanding audience to while away a couple of hours.