|Photo by Bob Seary|
Another Bright Idea Productions present the Australian premiere of David Earle's POSTNUPTIALS in the Parade Playhouse at the NIDA Theatre complex, Kensington.
POSTNUPTIALS by David Earle is in genre a comic farce. It however has a social agenda attached: "The play explores thematic concerns of gay marriage, heterosexual infidelity, and an individual's quest to challenge parental conditioning, laid down in childhood that at times may inhibit an adult's own choices in life, and perhaps the meeting of true minds and hearts in search for love" - Director's notes.
David Earle is an American (West Coast) writer. POSTNUPTIALS, from what I can gather, has been in development over some time, in several different versions. This one springing from a reaction to the 2008 Californian Proposition 8 (Prop 8) which restricted recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples. The play feels like an old fashioned television situation-comedy written to please too many people. It is an attempt to write a screwball farce with a gently political edge. It fails.
This production by anotherbrightidea, a new company of interested artists, is not very secure. The style of acting has no consistency of tone and seems to have been left to the floundering efforts of the actors to keep it afloat. Hard to do when the play is a fairly leaky vessel to begin with. Of the acting, no one is in the same play, most of them acting in a bubble of self protection. Michael Harrs is the Director and Set and Costume Designer.
Three actors meet the mark and give more creativity to the play then it deserves. Sam O'Sullivan, as Mark, finds exactly the right style and demeanor to give his very deluded character the souffle energies of fun. The fact that Mr O'Sullivan has no other actor near his conceptual skills and vision in the playing of the work, and still scores laughs, is a credit to his disciplines and theatrical intelligence. Recently, seen in the award winning PUNK ROCK, and a well reviewed performance in A STEADY RAIN at Tap Gallery, this is further credit to his gifts. Someone to watch out for. Henry Elsteen playing Kevin Haney, has the responsibility of the leading character at the centre of this play's dilemma. That he maintains a steady integrity to the demands of the play, despite very little useful support from the other actors about him, is a feat of some sustained courage and theatrical stamina. Ms Tallay Wickham as Marliene Andrews, despite a tendency for the sentimental gesture in her final scene, acquits herself with some potential.
This production is part of the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival 2013. The three and half hour (or more) production of TORCH SONG TRILOGY at the Darlinghurst Theatre - also, a part of the Mardi Gras Festival 2013 - is a "good bad play" in a very good production. The time flew. It is a better bet for your bucks. In fact, I highly recommend it.
POSTNUTPIALS is "a bad bad play", with an inept production, and felt, definitely, interminably longer than the three and a half hours or so,of TORCH SONG TRILOGY.