|Amy Kowalczuk (Sandra) - Nick Dyball (Jamie)
Jonathan Harvey - Directed by Jarrad West
by Isaac Riley - Lighting designed by Roni Wilkinson
by Nathan Patrech - Costumes designed by Emma Batchelor.
Everyman Theatre – ACT HUB - 5th – 15th October.
|Liam Prichard (Ste) - Nick Dyball (Jamie)
rapidly gaining a reputation as the go-to place in Canberra to see interesting
plays featuring talented actors in excellent productions. “Beautiful Thing” is
an excellent example of why this is the case.
1993 this perceptive play was written at a time when the age of consent for
homosexual sex was still 21. It follows the lives of single mother, Sandra and
her 15 year-old son Jamie, who live in a housing estate in southeast London.
Jamie is uncommunicative and unco-operative and refuses to go to school,
despite the best efforts of Sandra or her current boyfriend, Tony, to make him.
|Colin Giles (Tony) - Nick Dyball (Tony) - Amy Kowalczuk (Sandra
neighbours include Leah, who lives next door and is besotted with Mamma Cass;
and another boy, Ste, who lives with his abusive father. When Jamie and Ste
begin to realise that their relationship is more that ‘just friends’ it sets
off a chain of events which force all involved to re-examine and re-evaluate
their deepest feelings.
attractive transverse setting provides a cheerful environment for the action. Representing the courtyard of a modern housing
estate, with colourful potted flowers around the perimeter separating audience
from the acting area, three brightly coloured doors indicating the entrances to
the various apartments and Jamie’s bedroom situated at the far end of the acting
area, it immediately sets the tone for the play.
mother, Sandra, Amy Kowalczuk dominates the action, creating a fascinating
portrait of an openly confident career woman who is hiding her own deep
insecurities behind a brittle exterior as she battles to build a life for
herself and her son.
Emma Batchelor’s carefully chosen tacky-chic wardrobe which signals that Sandra
is unlikely to ever rise above her present job as a bar manager, Kowalczuk’s
depiction of a strong woman unravelling, as her outward confidence begins to
desert her under the threat of circumstances she can’t control, is mesmerising
in its detail and execution, climaxing in a brilliantly staged physical attack
on the person she loves most.
|Amy Kowalczuk (Sandra) - Colin Giles (Tony)
also impresses with his carefully modulated performance as Sandra’s charming
but ineffectual boyfriend, Tony, who Sandra begins to suspect may also have
designs on Jamie. Liv Boddington is
outstanding as the annoying neighbour, Leah, creating an appealing
characterisation as the misfit with a heart of gold.
But it is Nick
Dyball, as the rebellious teenager, Jamie, and Liam Prichard as the object of
his affection, Ste , who carry the
weight of the play, and under the tactful, elegant direction of Jarrad West, both give such delicate, committed depictions of
their growing relationship, that the charming denouement that ends the play
feels inevitable and deeply moving.
Images by Janelle McMenamin/ Michael Moore