On Thursday the 25th of June Rob and I came and saw Stoppard's The Real Thing at Stirling Theatre, in Innaloo by the Graduate Dramatic Society.
Stirling Theatre is a very cherishing space - there was a raffle, and a bar, and tea and biscuits put out at interval, which makes for a warm welcome. Thank you!
Stoppard is entertaining and this is one of his that I haven't seen before so it was a treat. Interestingly it was written in response to criticism that Stoppard was overly clever and his artifice and skill with words didn't deal with 'real' people. While I really enjoy Stoppard's fun with language it's something of a novelty to see him wrestle with reality in this way.
So we're presented with a play about a playwright who's very clever with words (so clever that Grads felt they needed to supply a glossary at the back of the program!) but not so clever with being 'real'. Rather a nice program too, informative and with a colour cover as seen below.
A pretty snappy production, fine scene changes as we flit from play to play and the gasps and laughter from the audience certainly were a testament to the performers skills. Although the "For your safety please leave the auditorium" announcements were a bit ominous. Some of the dialogue was genius, especially the bit about digital watches - it's the early 80's in the play.
Barry Park directed and I like his vision - fresh and uncontrived, and bringing out the skill of his actors and crew with great care. Well done!
Peter Clark played Henry - the playwright... well the real playwright. We Initially insulated by literary high mindedness and intellectual snobbery Henry is portrayed brilliantly on his journey to the Real Thing by Clark's polished and scintillating delivery.
Bethwyn Legg played Annie who was gorgeous - and giving as good or better than she got in the war of words and emotions. And the scene where she was so embarrassed in the train was perfect - the very picture of embarrassment, it looked so real. Such energy too. We were quite shocked to find Legg nursing sciatica afterwards with a medical pack, complaining about her performance. She was great, so I imagine she'll be award material if she's not sore! I've seen her before in various plays and she's always great.
Neil Cartmell played Max playing a fictional playwright with a great deal of finesse and played Max with a sensitivity that tugged on the old heartstrings here. These plays within plays give actors as good as this to show of their scope, but it must be hard work. Cartmell makes it real.
Maree Grayden played Charlotte, a tricky roll with a certain brittleness that came through well, but with a warm depth, and turning out the most humanising of the characters.
Debbie was played by Melissa Kilveri, self assured, with the arrogance of youth and a little cynical and coming across as the archetypical London teenager, born knowing more than her parents and definitely more mature than her father. Super body language and great energy between her and the actors playing her parents - had me wondering if they were all related in real life.
Patrick Barton played Billy - the young actor so taken with Annie, and he was fun to watch, playful and energetic. His earnest infatuation coming through very loud and clear, and his character's passion for Annie coming through very strongly when he's playing characters to which she is the pair. The scene from 'tis pity She's a Whore was particularly powerful.
Alex Ripper played Brodie - not at all a sympathetic character - and I'm sure in real life we wouldn't have cheered for him to get his face shoved in the dip, but he played the thuggish and ignorant ex-soldier very well.
All in all, a great little number and worth going to see.
Thank you all!
8 out of 10 Fun and thought provoking, and finding that a high speed hummingbird can perch for a little while on your finger and be just as jewelled on the Sid and Nancy scale.
This play will be running on the 27th, 28th of June and will be running from the 2-4 of July.﻿