REVIEWS 2020

On Centre Stage.

Ladies Day:

Review by Douglas Kennedy.

Ladies Day by Amanda Whittington. Javeenbah Theatre Company. Directed by Dawn China.  FeaturesVirginia Leaver, Corinne Meunier, Michelle MacWhirter, Priya Das (evenings) , Emma Oakey (matinees), Martin Jennings, Bob Allen. Season runs until January 25. Bookings (07) 55960300 or www.javeenbah.org.au

 

Amanda Whittington’s feel good comedy, about four working class women from the UK city of Hull, who have a day at the Ascot Races, is ripe to bring a smile to the lips.

Ladies Day belongs to a popular genre of modern plays where ordinary women get together and share their hopes and fears, and, more importantly, secrets.

Director Dawn China has secured the talents of four Gold Coast actors whose roles fit like a proverbial glove and brought a lot of joy to the opening night full-house.

There’s Jan (Corinne Meunier), whose a single mum with a soft spot for the fish factory foreman where they all work, sexy Shelley (Michelle MacWhirter), who has a soft spot for the male gender, the timid Linda (Priya Das), whose mum is spoiling her life and Pearl (Virginia Leaver) who has the darkest secret off all.

Note:Emma Oakey will play Linda at the matinees.

Ladies Day feature two token males playing six role, Martin Jennings and Bob Allen, but the bulk of the play belongs to the women.

The male characters include a pushy broadcaster, with his eye on Shelley, a sensitive underfed jockey and Pear’s dark secret,

The play opens with the women dreaming of going to Royal Ascot but with little chance of getting past the front gate.

They go anyway and thanks to a lucky windfall find themselves in the inner sanctum where they proceed to drink, gamble and share their innermost secrets.

Ladies Day is a mix of earthy working class humour, touching personal stories from a bunch of basically likeable women and a couple of uplifting twists.

The Ladies Day crew deserved be applauded for fine technical support and Dawn China holds everything together splendidly.

The play has been extremely popular since it premiered in the UK back in 2005 and is a particular favouite with community theatres.

The opening night boasted a full house, matinees are proving popular, and the box office is a buzz.

This is a good started to 2020 for Javeenbah.

On Centre Stage

Review by Douglas Kennedy.

 

 

Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls by Philip Dean. Gold Coast Little Theatre. Features Francesca Spear & Becky Morgan. Musicians Lawrie Esmond (guitar), George Pulley (keyboard/banjo), Jordan Ferrigno (drums). Director Michelle Watkins. Season continues until February 22. Bookings 07 5532 2096. www.gclt.com.au

I first saw Lone Gone Lonesome Cowgirls nearly 30 years ago – around the time it made its debut in 1994 – and the only thing I could remember was that it was fun.

Now it’s back, this time as the first main house production in the Gold Coast Little Theatre’s 2020 season, and once again it’s a pleasure to watch.

This uncomplicated two-hander with a simple 1960s country-style feminist message and a pile of mainstream tunes from the likes of Hank Williams, Lorette Lynn and Neil Diamond, among others, is never going to set the world on fire.

But for a couple of hours it will carry an undemanding audience away to the 1960s world of two sassy women who yearn for something more from life.

Stay-at-home mum Vicki (Francesca Spear) lives in a country fantasy, where Hank Williams is king, and hubby Jack is always away because he works so hard and that’s just the way things are.

Her world is turned upside down when sexy free spirit Rae (Becky Morgan) waltzes into her life with a sprinkling of swear words, but more importantly a sense that life is an adventure.

It seems that racy Rae has it nailed but, she is another victim of the chauvinistic world and her cowboy husband, Earl’s, selfish and irresponsible behavior.

We never meet the men in Vicki and Rae’s life, who include friends, husbands, lovers, relatives and others, but we get a sense that their treatment of the women has a lot to be desired.

The women cope with female bonding, some snappy dialogue and a heap of songs that come thick and fast.

Here’s where we give the musical trio a special thank-you because their music is the glue which holds the whole show together.

Guitarist Lawrie Esmond has a distinctive strong voice – I am told his party piece is Old Man River (I’d love to hear it) - and the impromptu backup George Pulley (keyboard/banjo) and Jordan Ferrigno (drums) – makes for a great unit.

Incidentally, Lawrie is responsible for the set which is spilt between Vickie’s home and the local pub where Rae works as a barmaid and the band play.

Director Michelle Watkins holds everything together with style and a sense of time and place.

There’s a sad twist towards the end of the show, but overall Long-Gone Cowgirls is an engaging night at the theatre with some laughs and lots of musical energy