A review by J. Hickman
From the moment we entered the theatre the vibe was so inviting, completely different to what I had imagined and an exciting surprise. It was set up like something you would see in an American 80s Cabaret movie scene, with the audience seated at circular tables, lit by flickering candles.
After a glass of Shiraz from the in-house bar I settled into my seat, soaking up the real buzz from the sold-out audience. The writer of all the plays, Adam Szudrich, circled the intimate room and welcomed the guests. His warm personality and sense of fun led me to feel a real excitement for what was about to unfold.
Billed as a “a night of love and other man-made disasters” the night started with two 10 minute plays. First up was One Night Stan, expertly directed by Grant Wilson. The fabulous cast of Ally O'Brien, Emma Caldwell and Gina Cohen had recently won the audience choice for “Best Play” at the world’s largest short play competition and it was easy to understand why.
Recounting their date with Stan, a corporate woman, a brassy bimbo & a delicate and slightly damaged character had the crowed in hysterics. Their rhythm, sense of timing and chemistry was perfection on a stage. My sides hurt with laughter as the curtain fell on the truly unique and expertly crafted production.
The next play was Slow Dating, directed Katie Burson and staring Jullie Collis. This Kiwi duo won all five major awards for their rendition of the pieces at New Zealand’s major play festival. This story centred on Ester, an elderly Lady who had been married for 52 years, who ‘stumbled across senior speed dating’.
Collis kept the audience on the edge of their seat through her spellbinding and hilarious journey. But it wasn’t until she spoke the final line of the play that the house fell silent and we truly understood why she had acted on such an impulse. It left me and many of the audience members in tears. This play is a must see if you have half a chance.
After a lively intermission from the swinging 8-piece live band the lights came up on “Bachelor Gal” – a new one-woman cabaret produced by Tiger Cub Media. I found it to be a modern day Bridget Jones, but better. Actress Leanne Smith had the audience eating out of her hands with her big voice and even bigger heart.
The precisely crafted story was gritty, raw, honest and laugh out loud hilarious. It had so many relatable points spanning from dating, to family, to societies stereotypes. Watching the audience faces, a mixture of ages and cultures, they were all transfixed and along for the ride. There were laughs, applause and tears as we rode Ellen’s roller-coaster and truly connected to the story line. For me it was five big stars out of five.
Once the show finished I had the pleasure of meeting Philip John the Director and co-producer of the event. Having just recovered from a heart-attack I couldn't help but marvel at his ability to play in the band and bring out such a great performance from Leanne Smith.
The experience of the intimate production left a lasting effect on me, walking out with a smile on my face and looking forward to seeing what more Adam 'the edgy' writer has to offer in the foreseeable future.