Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 19 September 2014
Dead Set, Sept 18, 2014 ***
By Sue Giles and Ian Pidd At La Mama Theatre, Sept
18 to 28, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***
Review also published in Herald Sun in print on Wed Sept 24, 2014. KH
Ian Pidd & Sue Giles
you’re a teacher who dreams of being a poet, a composer or a painter, Dead Set
will ring some bells for you.
partners, Sue Giles and Ian Pidd, now reputable directors, last performed this gentle,
quirky show 20 years ago when, as comedy duo Shaken and Suspicious, they toured
with their young children in tow.
Set depicts the burgeoning artistic and romantic relationship between Lionel
Tonks (Pidd), a shy, Maths teacher who secretly writes music, and aspiring
lyricist, Verity Charity (Giles), who is actually the alter-ego of surly English
teacher, Janice Black, whose double life is built on fantasies and lies.
and Lionel write The Great Australian Musical called Humping My Swag, with its
lead characters Mary, a widow with two children, and the Stranger she loves who
faces hanging for a crime he did not commit.
show is warm, sweet and funny but also bumpy and charmingly shambolic, with the
highlights being the goofy songs with witty lyrics, Giles and Pidd’s wry humour
and the ever-so-slightly demented but recognisable characters that they inhabit
Lionel, Pidd is delightfully gauche and genial and his opening song as the
lyrically-challenged Lionel (This Is A Song About A Chair) is very entertaining
to watch as poor Lionel struggles to find words and rhymes for his perky tunes.
is amusing as both a blousy, uppity musical producer who thinks Australian
musicals are worthless at the box office, and also as the bumbling ghost of The
Boy Who Cried Wolf.
switches hilariously between the flamboyant fantasist and compulsive liar,
Verity, and her sour-faced doppelganger, Janice, and she even adds an exotic,
third persona, Renata Carabini.
Lionel and Verity, Giles and Pidd address the audience directly, engaging us
with laconic asides and winks and turning any opening night stumbles into
will recognise the frustration of dealing with the interruptions, slow-wittedness
or rudeness of Year 9F, and the occasional rewards of getting a sensible answer
from a churlish teenager.
Set is an amiable show that reminds us that less is more and a show can
entertain without all the bells and whistles.