Collected Stories by Donald Margulies.
Directed by Luke Rogers. Chaika Theatre Company. ACTHUB ay yhe Old Causeway Hall Spinifex Street Kingston. October 27 – November 12. Bookings: https://thelittleboxoffice.com/acthub/book/event/150888
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
There is something evocative about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Softly seductive, beguilingly entrancing the jazz arrangement draws you in to the New York apartment of famous writer and teacher, Ruth Steiner. In what one might expect from a Neil Simon Comedy, Steiner played by the remarkable Karen Vickery is leaning out of her window to throw the key down to her student Lisa (Natasha Vickery) on the street below. The buzzer doesn’t work, the window is jammed and Steiner hurls her key to the ground below while shouting instructions to Lisa. It is a comical start to a play that seamlessly unfolds to probe the complex relationship between teacher and student, authoritative mentor and devoted mentee. Donald Margulies ‘text is a masterclass in playwrighting. The performances by both actors provide a mesmerising master class in acting.
|Natasha Vickery as Lisa in Collected Stories|
|Karen Vickery as Ruth Steiner|
Suffice to say that Collected Stories will allow no passive engagement. The direction is perfectly executed , the writing inescapably real, incisively observant and so powerfully encapsulated in the flawless performances of the real life mother and daughter on stage. The chemistry is palpable, the timing instinctively precise and the emotional connection so authentic that we watch each moment unfold as though it is happening in the instant before our very eyes.
Collected Stories is no All About Eve. Steiner is no Margo Channing and Lisa no Eve Harrington. Margulies’s dramatic skill is far more nuanced than that. This is a tragic tale of declining years and youthful obsession. And through it all courses the spectre of fear. Karen Vickery’s Steiner is a study of time’s approaching inevitability. Natasha Vickery’s Lisa a puzzling paradox of confused intention. Judge for yourself the true intention of her action. The mirror held to Nature in Collected Stories may not emit the true reflection.
Following on from the earlier inaugural production of Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, Chaika Theatre Company proves itself to be another shining beacon of hope for the emergence of professional theatre at ACT HUB and Karen Vickery and Natasha Vickery shining lights on a professional Canberra stage. Support local professional and independent theatre and buy a ticket today. Collected Stories is must see theatre.
. Photos by Jane Duong