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.
Thursday, 30 April 2015
Timeshare, 29 April 2015 ***1/2
By Lally Katz, Malthouse Theatre The Merlyn, Malthouse Theatre, until
May 17, 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars: ***1/2
Full review also published in Herald Sun online. KH
becomes elastic and tropical days merge into each other for the characters on
an island resort in Lally Katz’ enjoyable, light comedy, Timeshare.
production, with assured direction by Oliver Butler (The Debate Society, New
York), staged on Dale Ferguson’s hyper-real sandy paradise set, is very funny
with plenty of goofy gags, dysfunctional characters, absurd situations and
silly but entertaining songs.
greatest strength is the versatile cast (Marg Downey, Brigid Gallacher, Bert
LaBonté, Fayssal Bazzi), and all four balance the hilarious aspects of their
characters with poignant moments.
(Downey) and her adult daughter, Kristy (Gallacher), spend a week on a noticeably
shabby timeshare resort managed by Carl (LaBonté).
they await the late arrival of her son, Gary (Bazzi), Sandy relaxes on a
lounger by the empty infinity pool and Kristy books every one of the
all-inclusive activities so she can spend time with sexy, resort worker, Juan
an island that straddles the dateline, time is confusing when one side of the
resort is experiencing today while the other is still in yesterday, and this is
perhaps most bewildering for Sandy.
a sympathetic, gently funny and moving performance, Downey is wonderfully
languorous and refined as the optimistic Sandy who is happy to lounge and
observe her daughter’s quest for love and adventure.
is a charming, low-status clown as the lonely, single, hapless Kristy and, as
Maria, her sassy, funky dance routine and Turtle Ritual with Juan Fernando are hilarious.
balances swagger and under-confidence as the exotic-accented Juan Fernando,
cleverly blending physical and verbal comedy reminiscent of Manuel in Fawlty
brings his impeccable comic timing, detailed characterisation to his portrayal
of Carl, the anxious, cynical resort manager who harbours revenge fantasies and
is compelled to sell timeshares to survive in his island paradise.
lyrics are intentionally silly but, set to Jethro Woodward’s punchy music, they
bring additional vitality to the show.
sings an ode to Tinder, LaBonté’s Carl introduces the timeshare ideal with I
Can Give You Time, then sings with Downey a sweetly frothy love duet, How Lucky
I Found You.
LaBonté’s finale song, Fill The
Pool, with his thrilling, soulful tones, is the high point of the show that leaves
the audience wanting more of his warm, honey voice.
strange merging of exotic location, scruffy facilities and shambolic management
will be familiar with those who have holidayed on an island retreat, but Katz’
play tells a bitter-sweet tale that is more than just a fluffy comedy.
By Kate Herbert
Timeshare -L-R , Bert LaBonté, Marg Downey pic Jeff Busby