Friday, October 4, 2013

THE BOOK CLUB



By Rodney Fisher from the play by Roger Hall
Directed by Rodney Fisher
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan 3 - 5 October, 2013

Review by Len Power

The hazards of being a member of a book club are a great starting point for this play by Roger Hall and Rodney Fisher.  It’s a very funny and ideal one person show for its star, Amanda Muggleton.

Married, middle-aged and starting to feel it, Deborah, is a self-confessed bookaholic who is a member of a book club.  It’s not all rosy at the meetings as Deborah describes the individual quirks of each member and irritants like the competition over dishes brought for supper.  When it’s Deborah’s turn to host the book club at her home, she invites the author of a book the group is reading and is drawn into an affair with him.  Suddenly her life seems like one of the bad plots of the books she’s been reading.

Amanda Muggleton gives a superb performance as Deborah, a woman who seems happy with her life but who is emotionally vulnerable under the surface, especially now as her husband isn’t around all that much, their children have all left home and her ageing mother is driving her crazy.  From the start of the play, Amanda Muggleton demonstrates an almost uncanny ability to reach out from the stage and make you feel you are her trusted best friend being told a special secret.  It’s a lengthy play but Amanda Muggleton’s performance ensures that we never lose interest.

On a simple lounge room set by Rodney Fisher, surrounded by tall bookshelves, the play is directed very well by Rodney Fisher, peeling back the layers of Deborah’s character bit by bit to display the hidden depths of this apparently ordinary woman.  He wisely uses Deborah’s nervous energy to keep her on the move, giving the play a constant sense of action and purpose.

Amanda Muggleton is one of Australia’s unique and much-loved stars of the theatre.  ‘The Book Club’ displays her talents to the full and is a very enjoyable entertainment with a lot to say under the surface.

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