|John & Fanny Dashwood (Robert Weardon & Kayla Ciceran) - Anne Steele (Sienna Curnow) - Lucy Steele (Kate Garrow) in REP'S "Sense and Sensibility"
Lighting Design by Nathan Sciberras and Leeann Galloway –
Sound Design by Neville Pye
Canberra Rep Theatre 18th November – 3rd
Opening night performance reviewed by Bill Stephens
|Marianne Dashwood (Annabelle Segler) -Elinor Dashwood (Karina Hudson) - Edward Ferrars (John Whinfield) - Mrs Dashwood (Ann-Maree Hudson)
Canberra Rep is on a winner with this delightfully playful production of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novel “Sense and Sensibility”.
Directed with a deft hand by Cate Clelland, who also
designed the elegant setting, Hamill’s play manages to follow Austen’s novel
faithfully enough that those who have read the novel will have no trouble
following the story. Audience members unfamiliar
with the novel might need to be a bit more alert to keep up though. Not that it really matters because everything
works out happily in the end, and there
is so much to enjoy about this production that the journey is the best part.
Clelland’s entertaining and ingenious concept makes much use
of tabeaus and freezes. Changes of locale are indicated on an on-stage notice board, and grand
banquets, ballrooms and the myriad other settings required for the busy
storyline are differentiated by clever, tightly choreographed, skilfully
executed scene changes in which the large ensemble efficiently re-arrange the
splendid antique furniture.
Some of the ensemble double in principal roles, but when not
acting a specific character, inhabit the shadows around the perimeter of the stage,
observing and responding to the events as ever-present gossips. It’s a clever directorial effect that echoes Austen’s
world in which everyone seems to be pre-occupied with gossip.
Anna Senior has provided stylish period costumes for all the
cast, which require only the addition or
removal of hats or bonnets to signify whether the events are happening inside
or out; while Properties Co-ordinator, Brenton Warren has
excelled with an array of gorgeous artefacts
that contribute so much to the handsome look of the production. It all works a
treat and is hugely entertaining.
|Marianne Dashwood (Annabelle Segler) - Mrs Dashwood (Ann-Maree Hatch) - Elinor Dashwood (Karina Hudson) in REP's "Sense and Sensibility".
You won’t be surprised to learn that most of the action revolves around the three Dashwood sisters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, and the efforts of their mother, Mrs Dashwood, to find the two eldest, Elinor and Marianne, suitably rich husbands.
Karina Hudson and Annabelle Segler both offer vivacious,
contrasting performances as the sisters, Elinor and Margaret, both questioning
their roles in a world restrained by manners. Hanna Cornelia as the youngest,
Margaret, has less opportunity but still scores her share of the laughs. Ann
Maree Hatch is suitably dignified as their widowed mother, Mrs Dashwood.
|Mrs Jennings (Ros Engledow) - Anne Steele (Sienna Curnow ) - Thomas (Justice- Noah Malfitano)
in REP'S "Sense and Sensibility"
Among the host of other characters who play out the convoluted plot, Ros Engledow is a stand-out with her engaging performance as the garrulous but well-meaning Mrs Jennings, while Rob de Fries revels in three roles, Sir John Middleton, the Doctor, and a not particularly convincing, Mrs Ferrars. (Yes you read right).
John Whinfield, Kayla Ciceran, Kate Garrow, Sean Reve,
Sienna Curnow, Jack Shanahan, Robert Wearden, Rosemary Gibbons, Russell Godwin,
Justice-Noah Malfitano and Freya Rowell all contribute delightfully broad,
tongue-in-cheek, characterisations as well as maintaining admirable energy to
create what appears to be a cast of thousands.
This is the type of production that Canberra Rep does so
well and makes a perfect finale production to celebrate Canberra Rep’s 90th Year and as such is
recommended as a perfect theatrical treat for the festive season.