A review of Silver Lining by William J. of Bay FM

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Silver Lining is a delightful comedy on aging from the pen of British-Danish playwright and lawyer Sandi Toksvig. Sandi is known for her stand-up comedy, radio and especially in the new host of TV’s ‘QI’ – receiving only 40% of Stephen Fry’s fee. Not surprisingly she is a joint founder of the Women’s Equality Party.

This play is written in two genres. The First Act is hilarious, whereas the Second Act is quite dark – but still with a blend of humour – as we learn about each resident’s past. This very topical and current subject of an uncaring old folks’ home can be seen at CTG Chelmer Community Centre Cnr Queenscroft and Halsbury Sts Chelmer from May 11th – June 1st.  It opened last evening.

Set at the Silver Retirement Home in Gravesend, the weather has just turned foul.

The set: is an impressive dayroom.

Amending the words of Bulwer-Lytton slightly, ‘It was a dark and stormy morning’ outside the Silver Retirement Home in Gravesend. In the first-floor lounge, clutching her torch is Maureen (Marion Jones) recalling her long-gone days in the theatre. Her elderly but most lucid friend, chirpy cockney Gloria (Julie Moran) feels around in the dark for the light switch, just as a massive flash of lightning illuminates the room. Sitting in their favourite chairs, they query where matron and the staff have gone.

The floods continue rising. The highly religious, but dippy widow, June (Barbara de-Bont) wants to go for a swim, but thankfully her acerbic lesbian sister, May (Penny Murphy) bluntly tells her of the impending danger. Donned in a massive black bin bag, Hope (Ama Appiah-Brenya) an inexperienced, temporary local social worker staggers in to save them.

There is a sudden power failure, and when the lights come back on, a strange young man Jed (Lewis Ziebarth) is searching for things to loot. A fracas takes place.

On searching the bedrooms, Hope finds an enigmatic resident, St. Michael (Lea Greenaway) whose brain ranges from genius to rough sex; and biscuits not to mention Physics.

There were a couple of laughs a minute in the first Act. As always there are a few odd minor fluffs, but as I can personally confirm, most senior citizen have trouble learning a single person’s name; so to learn huge chunks of comic script must have been a major challenge for the whole cast.

There were dozens of one-liners and raunchy double-entendres, which were perfectly delivered by the pan-faced actors, but being perhaps too subtle, could slip by the audience if you are not paying close attention; Be vigil!!

The personalities of the very different characters were captured perfectly, with expressions and mannerisms that will bring a broad grin. Superb team work. Director Brian Hinselwood and his actor wife Meg, as assistant to the director have worked hard to put this together.

Stage Manager Rhyll Bucknell had a challenge with the countless props not to mention the flashing, pulsating vibrator, the stories on that prop alone can fill pages.

This very well acted show giving the audience two first-class plays for the price of one. A hilarious comedy, with a poignant, instantly recognisable, group of old ladies, who have been forgotten by everyone.

Hang in there……….. your turn is coming! Take notes.

A review of Heroes by William J from Bay FM

CTG’s first production for 2019 is Heroes; Heroes is set in a French retirement home for First World War veterans. Gustav, Played by (Cam Castles) Philippe (Played by Andrew Wallace) and Henri, (played by Gary Kliger) pass their time grumbling about the staff, dreaming about young women and arguing over whether a statue of a dog is alive. They also hatch a plan to make a break for freedom – taking the dog with them.

Sir Tom Stoppard adapted Gérald Sibleyras's Le Vent des peupliers for a starry West End opening, the first problem was the title. The original French means “The Wind in the Poplars”, and Stoppard was concerned that because of The Wind in the Willows. It may be confused so he changed the name to heroes.
Stoppard said: “Curiously enough, I think it's also a play about the fact that we don't die. That something of us continues, even if it's just somebody's memory of us. Corporeal death is not the whole story.

Directed by Margaret Bell it is as the above suggests a three-hander male cast plus a concrete dog; who not only do the three men think is alive; the audience will observe it does a fair amount of moving during the performance.

All three actors are well respected in their performances to date and Gary and Cam are also directors; three directors in a production??! Not a problem they work together seamlessly and Andrew whose character has a piece of shrapnel in his head passes out at the most inopportune times and more frequently as time progresses.
It is a poignant work with great humour intertwined and compelling to watch; expertly acted. I won’t do a spoiler of the end but you will not be sorry you go to view this production. All three give a moving and realistic portrayals of their characters.

The show opens 9th March and plays to the 30th, book tickets on line or phone 0435591720

Sunday 17th SOLD OUT

Auslan performance 22nd March

Matinee 24th March 2pm
William J