Lat­est farce worth all the fuss

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

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.

BIG TROU­BLE: Su­san Fraser, Paula Mandl and Nancy Ni­chol­son will de­light au­di­ences in the new farce,

Panic Sta­tions.

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