Directed by Tony Turner
The Courtyard, Canberra Theatre Centre to 18 May
Reviewed by Len Power 15 May 2019
There’s been an interesting resurgence of interest in plays here in Canberra over the past year or so. High quality stagings of classic and new plays by Everyman, Pigeonhole and Mockingbird theatre companies, in particular, have been attracting good numbers of increasingly loyal audiences.
It seems, therefore, a good time for the resurrection of papermoon theatre, once a presenter of notable theatre work in conjunction with the now closed Australian National University Drama Department. Three of the original directors, Tony Turner, Geoffrey Borny and Cate Clelland, have stated an intention to present strong comedies and dramas with absorbing themes and challenging female roles.
Their first new production, directed by Tony Turner, is the Australian play ‘Wicked Sisters’ by Alma De Groen. After the death of one of their husbands, four old friends get together for an evening of wine and memories that quickly descends into a nightmare of past lies and betrayals.
The play has four very strong roles for women and the cast of this production all give fine performances. Elaine Noon, as the grieving and bitter wife of the dead husband, brings a believable depth of feeling to her role. Alice Ferguson gives a brittle, edgy performance as a woman who may not be all she seems under her respectable outer veneer.
Nikki Lynne Hunter is effective as a woman not coping very well with ageing. Her false confidence masking deep insecurities is very well played. Lainie Hart gives a terrific performance as a highly intelligent educated woman mysteriously working these days as a cleaner.
Alma De Groen’s play was written in 2001. It feels a bit dated with its familiar formula of a heavy evening of revelations amongst a group of old friends and some of the dialogue is theatrical more than realistic. Nevertheless, it is involving, funny and entertaining.
Tony Turner has directed a high quality production which flows smoothly and at a good pace. He has obtained very good performances from his excellent cast.
Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.