Thursday, August 29, 2019


Written by Neil Simon & Anton Chekhov
Directed by James Scott
A co-production of Honest Puck and Limbo Theatre
Perform Australia Theatre, Fyshwick to 31 August

Reviewed by Len Power 28 August 2019

One year after Neil Simon’s death, his 1973 play, ‘The Good Doctor’, is an interesting and challenging choice for Limbo and Honest Puck Theatre.  Based on or inspired by the works of Anton Chekhov, it consists of several small plays with Chekhov himself as narrator.  To work effectively, the short scenes in ‘The Good Doctor’ require highly detailed character work by the actors.  To add to the challenge, some of the plays are not as strong as others.

Limbo Theatre was formed by graduates of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art (now Perform Australia) to bridge the gap between study and industry.  For this production, they have joined with Honest Puck Theatre with James Scott both directing and acting.

Damon Baudin is especially effective as the writer and narrator, Chekhov.  He builds an instant rapport with the audience and sustains his performance throughout the show.  Izaac Beach gives very strong performances in three of the plays - ‘The Sneeze’ as a worry-wart employee, a self-styled ‘maritime entertainer’ in ‘The Drowned Man’ and he is especially funny and moving in ‘The Arrangement’ as a shy 19 year old at a brothel.  Immi Irvine gives a quietly controlled and sensitive performance as a nervous young actress in ‘The Audition’.  Everyone else in the cast has their moments to shine amongst the multitude of characters they play.

Heidi Silberman and Immi Irvine

Director, James Scott, keeps the pace moving and the transition between the plays is handled especially well.  Set design by Sam Wilde is simple and practical and works fine for this production.  The split-second lighting changes were well-handled by Pat Uren.

More attention needs to be given to costumes and props.  I understand that it is difficult to costume a period production on a tight budget but some of the costumes were really poor, detracting from the actors’ performances at times.  The doctor’s kitbag in ‘The Surgery’ scene was falling apart.  Surely a better bag could have been used.

As a showcase for these emerging performers, ‘The Good Doctor’ proved to be a good choice as well as providing amusing entertainment.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.