Latest farce worth all the fuss
TOWNSVILLE Little Theatre has a hit on its hands with their latest production, Panic Stations, written by Derek Benfield.
In the true style of British farce, this play has pace, a convoluted plot, a bevy of eccentric characters and laughs from the audience that were loud and frequent.
This play relies on the actor in the lead role of Chester Dreadnought, whose character seems to have as many lines as the rest of the cast put together.
Luke Reynolds gives us a “tour de force”, with constant patter, superb timing and a great interpretation of a man overwhelmed by adverse circumstances, most of his own making. His is a welcome return to the theatre stage.
It is a performance of Basil Fawlty- esque proportions, showing bewilderment, exasperation, double takes and resigned acceptance that he may not survive the situation he has brought upon himself.
Other worthy performances include Richard Price as Abel placemyad. com. au Bounty, the much- suffering handyman, and Donna Ahlers as Lady Elrood, a haughty mother- inlaw to the hapless Chester. Both these actors make welcome returns to the Townsville Little Theatre stage after absences of many years.
Paula Mandl is Chester’s wife Patricia and there’s a notable debut performance by Susan Fraser as Carol, who thinks she is about to become his girlfriend. They both excel in these roles and lend a considerable sexual frisson to the proceedings.
Nancy Nicholson as Mrs Bounty and Kath Hotschilt as Miss Partridge also do great jobs in their roles.
Stephen Duffie as an overenthusiastic army sergeant and Iain McDougall as the barkingmad Lord Elrood complete an exceptional cast.
Regarding the plot, it defies explanation. It is so convoluted it is best just to sit back and let the comedy flow over you.
Director Alan Cooke has done a brilliant job in bringing true farce back to the Townsville stage. He is to be congratulated on his work in assembling this cast and bringing the production to a level which has the audience rocking in their seats with laughter throughout.
Mention should also be made of set designer Glenn Shield who has created a convincing, run- down English manor house with a dubious future. The lighting and sound were also of a high standard.
There were a couple of slow spots with cueing and the accents slipped a bit in various places, giving us a linguistic tour of British localities including a few which were entirely unknown until now, but these were minor matters.
This is a play well worth seeing if you want to have a good belly laugh over two hours or so. It is thoroughly recommended.
Panic Stations continues at Pimlico Performing Arts Centre ( PIMPAC) on Fulham Rd tonight and tomorrow at 7.30, with a matinee at 2pm tomorrow.
Tickets are available from trybooking. com. au or at the door.