Friday, June 30, 2023




Stage adaptation by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. Based on the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford. Music by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford. Additional music by Eric Carmen, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Loggins nd Jim Steinman. Directed by Anthony Swadling. Musical direction by Jenna Hinton. Choreography and assistant direction by Rachel Thornton. Manager David Tricks. Stage Manager Rachel Laloz. Repetiteur Brigid Cummins. Costume design Rhiannon de Margheriti. Set design Steve Galinec and Anita Davenport. Lighting design Jacob Aquilina (Eclipse) Sound design Kyle Maley (Eclipse) Properties Master   Helen McIntyre. Queanbeyan Players. The Q. Queanbeyan and Palerang Performing Arts    Centre. June 23 – July 3 2023. Bookings 62856290.


Reviewed by Peter Wilkins.


 Footloose is your quintessential American musical. It’s a triple threat explosion of acting, singing and dancing and Queanbeyan Players’ large ensemble of youthful talent give it everything they’ve got. From the opening number Footloose Rachel Thornton’s lively choreography leaves no doubt that Footloose the Musical is a celebration of dance with Jenna Hinton’s musical direction of her ter5rific band and pit singers pushing up the pulse and getting Anthony Swadling’s production off to a foot tapping , heart thumping start.

                Even the plot is a snapshot of rural, bible bashing America. Ren (a charismatic performance by Luke Ferdinands) and his mother Ethel (Hayley Calderwood) are forced to move to the small Midwest town of Bomont after Ren’s father abandons them. Town preacher Reverend Shaw More ( a performance of great gravitas from Pat Gallagher) has banned dancing after his son died in a car accident after a night of carousing and rock ‘n roll. His daughter Ariel (Sammy Marceddo) is the teen rebel in a relationship with the town delinquent Chuck  Cranston (Zac Izzard) and Ren is treated as the outsider until he befriends hic cowboy Willard Hewitt ( a wonderfully comic performance by Jonathan Whinfield) and strikes up a relationship with Ariel setting the scene for rivalry with the belligerent Chuck. Writer Pitchford’s themes strike a familiar chord. Footloose exposes the generation gap and family disputes. There is the xenophobic regard of the newcomer and the strong hold that religion has on the townsfolk. But it is the power of transformation that can ultimately win the day and with a score by Tom Snow that can have your heart thumping with rock combo force (Still Rocking) or melting with Ariel and Ren’s duet Almost Paradise Queanbeyan Players’ production takes you on a rollercoaster ride of bursting energy and tear dropping sentiment. Director Swadling assisted by Jacob Aquilina’s vivid lighting design keeps the action fluid and cast and creatives sweep you along through a plot that is familiar but a production that is uplifting and entertaining. The combination of direction, musical direction and choreography lend this production a professional gloss that is celebrated in the performance of every member of this highly talented and enthusiastic cast.

                Too many to mention, principals and chorus capture the authentic flavour of the townsfolk of Bomont. There are excellent performances from Ariel’s girlfriends played with backing singer chicness by Emily Pogson and  Kay Liddiard with Kara Murphy (Let’s Hear It For the Boy) . Kara Murphy also portrays a likeable innocence in her performance as Willett’s love interest Rusty and Sarah Hull’s Vi (Can You Find It In Your Heart) is totally convincing as Ariel’s mother. There is the no frills, tell it like it is roughness in Sarah Powell’s Bar Owner, Betty.

                You’ll be hard pushed to stay still in your seat at this pumped up gotta dance musical and you’ll still be rocking to the songs and the company numbers as you leave the theatre. You’ll laugh. You’ll shed a tear and you’ll have a fun night out if you are lucky enough to get your feet down to The Q to see Queanbeyan Players’ production of Footloose.





Thursday, June 29, 2023

Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade. Directed by Alexandra Pelvin. Canberra Repertory. Canberra Repertory Theatre. Until July 8. Reviewed by Alanna Maclean.


Natalie Waldron (Fran) and Karina Hudson (Judy). Photo: Eve Murray & Alex Fitzgerald

THIS is a play that starts out looking like it might be a light and fluffy comedy.

It’s certainly got strong elements of a 1950s farce as Judy (Karina Hudson), dressed gloriously as the female image of the era,  moves purposely around what appears to be a 1950s kitchen in a 1950s house. Husband Johnny ( Ryan Street) fits into the picture. He’s the breadwinner, she’s the homemaker. 

Then it emerges that the time is much much closer to the present and what is actually happening is some kind of role playing by the pair. The 50s after all were a happier, less complicated time when people had their gender roles straight. Think Doris Day, think Rock Hudson… think laminex kitchen tables… 

I lived through the 1950s and I don’t think there’s much, apart from Saturday film matinees,  that I’d want to go back for.  Judy’s mother Sylvia ( Adele Lewin) is a show stopper, tersely and magnificently describing much more dire conditions in post war England than in Sydney. ( Where we had a new laminex table due to Mum winning it on the stage of Sydney’s Tivoli Theatre in a panto audience participation competition, which meant the old one could go to Aunty Mabel…)

Yet Judy seems to think it was all glorious enough to go back to; the cooking, the cleaning, the husband maintenance and feeding. Resignation from work on marriage. And the undertow of sexual harassment. Despite the limitations for women, something her mother is not slow to point out.


Ryan Street (Johnny) and Karina Hudson (Judy). Photo: Eve Murray and Alex Fitzgerald

Cracks are appearing, however.  Poor old Johnny is having trouble at work and without his salary they cannot continue to maintain the 50s idyll. The efficiently ruthless Alex (Kayla Ciceran) has nabbed the promotion that in the 1950s would have been his. Friends Marcus (Terry Johnson) and Fran (Natalie Waldron) puzzle at the set up although Marcus reveals a touch of disturbing nostalgia for gender relationships in the past. 

Andrew Kay’s set, dressed by Gail Cantle, Anne Gallen and Antonia Kitzel, the bouncy 50s soundtrack style music put together by sound designer Justin Mullins and Helen Drum’s costuming all help to back up the sound and the feeling of the times. 

A fine central performance by Hudson as Judy is well supported by Johnson and Waldron as the two friends. Street is growing into the part of Johnny (which he has taken over late in the day because of the illness of Tom May). Lewin takes full advantage of Sylvia’s marvellously unromantic views of actually living in the 1950s to give the play a great edge. 

And an uncredited pair of female scene shifters (who could use just a little more light) come close to stealing the show with their understated shenanigans between the scenes.

A funny and thought provoking choice by Canberra Rep, well directed by  Alexandra Pelvin. 


Written by Laura Wade

Directed by Alexandra Pelvin

Canberra REP production

Canberra REP Theatre, Acton to 8 July


Reviewed by Len Power 28 June 2023


The audience’s uncertain reaction (‘Is this a comedy?’) as the lights came up for interval, showed that ‘Home, I’m Darling’ is not just an enjoyable comedy romp.  It certainly is very funny but it also makes pointed observations about relationships, nostalgia, responsibilities and choice in marriage.

English playwright, Laura Wade, has produced a cleverly sharp satire of modern life.  Judy is on a quest to be the perfect 1950s housewife to her husband Johnny.  The problem is that it’s 2018 and being a domestic goddess isn’t as easy as following a manual.

On an extraordinarily detailed set by Andrew Kay of the entire interior of a house decorated to perfection with 1950s furniture and fittings, director, Alexandra Pelvin’s production is a highly detailed delight.  Her cast of six all give fine performances of great depth and comic timing.

As Judy, Karina Hudson plays the 1950s housewife to perfection.  As the cracks begin to show, she deftly shows the other side of Judy struggling to maintain her fantasy in a modern world.

Ryan Street, as her husband Johnny, plays him as a mild-mannered, kind and decent man who is ready to indulge his wife’s fantasy but then finds that modern life’s pressures make him question their marriage.  Ryan Street took over the role recently due to the illness of the original actor playing the role.  He has achieved an effective performance in a short time.

Amongst the other performers, Adele Lewin shines as Judy’s cynical mother.  Her long speech about actual life in the 1950s is a highlight of the show.  Terry Johnson as Marcus, a friend of Judy and Johnny, gives a terrific performance that is funny, oily and then chilling as his character shows his true colours.  Natalie Waldron as Marcus’s wife, Fran, is effective as a very modern day self-centred woman.  Kayla Ciceran is very natural as Johnny’s boss, Alex.

The scene changes that involve a lot of clearing away and resetting of props, is well choreographed with a wicked sense of humour.  Stage Managers Paul Jackson and Ann-Maree Hatch are a delight as the silent ‘domestic elves’ working in the dark.

There is also a good choice of 1950s music in Justin Mullins’ sound design and colourful period costumes by Helen Drum.


Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023



Choreographed by Belle Beasely & Skip Willcox – Designed by James Drinkwater

Music composed by Joseph Franklin.

Dancers: Alexander Abbott, Nicholas Jachno, Cassidy McDermott-Smith, Mitchell Christie.

Musicians: Joseph Franklin, Ollie McGill, Sam Gill, Chloe Kim.

 Drill Hall Gallery Canberra. June 24, 2023. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

The opening of a major exhibition of works by James Drinkwater at the Drill Hall Gallery provided the opportunity for Canberrans to experience excerpts from a dance work commissioned by Drinkwater to celebrate fellow-artist, William Dobell’s association with Lake Macquarie.

Drinkwater himself draws inspiration from ballet as an art form and began taking lessons in 2013 to extend his practice both pictorially and lyrically. His experience with dance has influenced his iconography and use of colour for almost a decade, beginning with his early body of work The Boy and the Ballet.

For Storm Approaching Wangi and other Desires, commissioned for the 2023 Lake Macquarie Dobell Festival, Drinkwater embraced the ethos of the Ballets Russes, famous for its collaborations with composers Stravinsky, Debussy and Ravel and artists Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky.

He designed the set and costumes himself and commissioned Victorian composer, Joseph Franklin, to compose an original score. Choreographers, Belle Beasley and Skip Willcox collaborated to choreograph the ballet in the neo-classical style favoured by the Ballets Russes and later by George Balanchine.

The excerpts performed at the Drill Hall Gallery were presented sans Drinkwater’s settings but with the four dancers, Alexander Abbot, Nicholas Jachno, Cassidy McDermott-Smith and Mitchell Christie wearing Drinkwater’s striking costumes, and surrounded by his towering impressionistic art works.  

Joseph Franklin’s atmospheric score was performed by an excellent quartet comprising the composer himself on piano, together with Ollie McGill (keyboard), Sam Gill (Saxophone) and Cloe Kim (percussion).

The work began with the dancers entering one at a time to gaze intently at the art works. Thereafter, they joined hands, broke away, grouped to form sculptural shapes, executed sharp jerking movements, hugged each other and sometimes and performed impressive athletic movements; all with an air of intense seriousness,

Though it was fascinating to watch these movements, and appreciate the skill of the dancers performing the carefully reconstituted neo-classical choreography in a style rarely seen now, but beloved of dance satirists and familiar from the photographs of photographers of the ilk of Baron and George Platt Lynes; without setting and context, it was not immediately obvious how the choreography related to the life of William Dobell, his Wangi Wangi home or Lake Macquarie.

However, the joyful fascination created by sharing a rare and unique experience created by Drinkwater and his talented collaborators, surrounded by  his stunning artworks in the rarefied ambience of the Drill Hall Gallery has satisfied a long held curiosity about what it would be like to attend such an event in one of New York’s most hip galleries.



                    These images by Ben Adams feature the original cast.

      This review also published in Australian Arts Review.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

IN HIS WORDS - Voices of Fatherhood.


Brett Williams and Creswick during "In His Words".

Created by Creswick – Stage Direction by Caroline Stacey

Stage Design by Imogen Keen – Lighting Design by Antony Hateley

Audio by Kimmo Vennonen – Film Directed, filmed and edited by Creswick.

Performed by Creswick, Brett Williams, Chris Pound, Ben Hauptmann, James Hauptmann

Street Theatre June 23 – 25th 2023.

Performance on June 24th reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

Brett Williams (piano) - Creswick (keyboards) - James Hauptmann (drums) - Ben Hauptmann (Guitar) - Chris Pound (Bass) in "In His Words".

This beguiling reverie exploring the state of fatherhood is the brainchild of composer/musician/videographer, Creswick (a.k.a. Liam Budge), inspired by his own experience, but told through the musings of nine fathers, both young and not so.

Drawing on the mentorship of the Street Theatre’s Early Phase Development Project, Creswick honed his idea to bring it fruition, composing the songs, filming the interviewees, then finally, performing the show himself.   

Having overcome the major problem of locating fathers willing to share their thoughts and experiences, the resultant interviews were then filmed, with each interviewee captured in his own environment, relaxed and unself-conscious, often interacting with his progeny.

These segments are beautifully filmed, revealing, funny, perceptive, inspiring, often unexpectedly moving. Skilfully edited they form a captivating visual component for an engrossing live theatre experience, sensitively directed by Caroline Stacey.

Brett Williams (piano) - Creswick (keyboard) -James Hauptmann (drums) - Ben Hauptmann (guitar)
Chris Pound (double bass) in a moment during "In His Words".

Positioned centre stage, Creswick was surrounded by four highly skilled musicians in Brett Williams (piano & keys), Chris Pound (Bass), Ben Hauptmann (Guitars) and James Hauptmann (Drums) situated  among Imogen Keen’s remarkable abstract setting which itself was dominated by a large video screen hung above the musicians and softened by the addition of a vertical string sculpture suggesting the strings of a piano.

A striking figure with long flowing hair and barefooted throughout, Creswick sat at a keyboard surrounded by his four musical associates. He listened with rapt attention while the father’s shared their stories, nodded encouragement whenever his colleagues contributed a superb solo subtly showcased in Antony Hateley’s glowing lighting or gently faded from view when the videos required the attention of the audience.    

As Kimmo Vennenon’s superb audio design highlighted the virtuosity of each musician, particularly the remarkable piano skills of Brett Williams, the performance became an aural and visual feast, blemished only in those moments when Creswick’s vocal stylings compromised the clarity of his lyrics, depriving his audience full entrée to the depth of his very personal responses to the revelations of his interviewees.

Whether attracted by the topic or the music, “In His Words” offers a unique, highly accessible and brilliantly executed insight into a life’s experience too few men take the time to relish. How special to be provided with this delightful reminder to reflect on your own. 

                                                   Images by Creswick Collective   

This review also published in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW.






FOOTLOOSE - Queanbeyan Players


Directed by Anthony Swadling – Choreography and Assistant Direction by Rachel Thornton

Musical Direction by Jenna Hinton – Set designed by Steve Galinec & Anita Davenport

Costumes designed by Rhiannon De Margheriti – Sound designed by Kyle Maley

Lighting Designed by Jacob Aquilina.

The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre June 23 – July 2, 2023.

Opening Night performance on June 23rd reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.


Based on a 1984 film of the same name, the professional production of “Footloose” was not a commercial success when first produced in Australia. However over the years the show has been embraced by community groups largely because the storyline about generational tensions contains meaty roles for a range of age types. It has a score with catchy tunes, and requires a large ensemble of young performers able to execute the many dance routines integral to the story. All of which made it a perfect choice for Queanbeyan Players.

Their production of “Footloose” has been an obvious passion project for Director Anthony Swadling, Choreographer, Rachel Thornton and Musical Director, Jenna Hinton. Together they’ve successfully harnessed the talents and enthusiasm of a large, carefully chosen cast of performers with the skills of a team of talented technical creatives, to produce an entertaining, effervescent, even at times unexpectedly touching, evening of musical theatre.

The storyline of “Footloose” revolves around a young man, Ren, who with his mother takes up residence in a small American town where dancing and loud music have been forbidden by the town’s conservative council. Ren’s decision to challenge this law brings him into conflict with the local minister, who happens to be the father of Ariel, to whom Ren is attracted.

Luke Ferdinands (Ren) and Sammy Marceddo (Ariel) in "Footloose"

Leading a talented cast, Luke Ferdinands is outstanding as Ren. A talented actor with a fine singing voice and the ability to really ‘sell’ the song, his spectacular rendition of “I Can’t Stand Still” with its killer final note, drew cheers from the first night audience and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Matching Ferdinands, as the wilful preacher’s daughter, Ariel, Sammy Marceddo also impressed with her strong dramatic performance and excellent vocals. Their duet, “Almost Paradise”, cleverly staged on staircases manipulated by the cast, provided just one of many vocal highlights.

John Willard not only sings well but knows how to capture the laughs as Ren’s friend, Willard, while Kara Murphy, Kay Liddiard and Emily Pogson as Ariel’s girlfriends all contribute strong vocal and comedic support.

Kara Murphy (Rusty) - Kay Liddiard (Wendy Jo) - Emily Pogson (Urleen) - Sammy Marceddo (Ariel)
in "Footloose"

Pat Gallagher brings dramatic heft and a fine singing voice to his pivotal role as Rev. Shaw Moore. His teaming with Sarah Hull, quite lovely in a gracefully sustained performance as his gentle, caring wife, Vi, provides a thoughtful dramatic counterpoint among the otherwise exuberant activity.

Pat Gallagher (Rev. Shaw Moore) - Sarah Hull (Vi Moore) in "Footloose"

Elsewhere, Zac Izzard as the town bully, Chuck, Andrew Finegan as both Principal Clark and Cowboy Bob, David Gambrill as Coach Dunbar, and Sarah Powell as both Eleanor and Betty, contribute scene-stealing dramatic and comedic highlights.

Outstanding in this production is the quality of the singing throughout from both ensemble and the soloists. Supported by Jenna Hinton’s fine rock combo band and a sextet of pit singers, the harmonies achieved by the ensemble are quite thrilling, indicating hours of attentive rehearsal.

Similarly Rachel Thornton’s inventive choreography, executed by each member of the large ensemble with a gusto that convinced they were having their best time, provided authenticity and spectacle for the many large production numbers made possible by the spacious set design by Steve Galinec and Anita Davenport.

Despite a couple of unfortunate costume choices, some missed sound cues on opening night, and some hesitation executing Anthony Swadling’s clever scene transitions, all of which will no doubt be corrected, “Footloose” will take its place among some of the Queanbeyan Players most successful productions. 

However, if you haven’t secured your tickets you will have missed out seeing it, because remarkably, tickets for all performances were sold out before the show even opened.

                                    Photos by Ben Appleton - Photox Canberra

      This review first published in the Digital Edition of CITY NEWS on 24th June 2023.




Sunday, June 25, 2023


 Benefactors by Michael Frayn.  Ensemble Theatre, Sydney, June 16 – July 22, 2023.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
June 24

Director – Mark Kilmurry
Assistant Director – Margaret Thanos
Set & Costume Designer – Nick Fry
Lighting Designer – Matt Cox
Sound Designer – David Grigg
Dialect Coach - Linda Nicholls-Gidley
Hair Stylist – Lindsey Chapman

Jane – Emma Palmer        David – Gareth Davies
Sheila – Megan Drury        Colin – Matt Minto

Photos by Prudence Upton

David enthuses about skyscrapers

L-R: Megan Drury, Matt Minto, Gareth Davies, Emma Palmer
as Sheila, Colin, David and Jane
in Benefactors by Michael Frayn, Ensemble Theatre 2023
Photo: Prudence Upton

Like theatres everywhere, Ensemble nowadays asks for donations: This year, we’re celebrating an amazing 65 years. Your support is key to our ongoing success, creating exceptional theatre that you have come to expect from Ensemble.

As Wikipedia informs us: It is Australia's longest continuously running professional theatre group, having given its first performance in Cammeray Children's Library on 11 May 1958. It relocated to the current premises in the old boatshed on the shore of Careening Cove in 1960.

As theatre enthusiast, drama teacher and reviewer I have watched the inspirational leadership of founder Hayes Gordon, then Sandra Bates from 1986 – while Hayes continued to run the Ensemble Studios acting school until his death in 1999 – and then Sandra’s protégé Mark Kilmurry since her retirement in 2015.

I am certain this production of Benefactors would make Hayes and Sandra proud.  Mark’s directing of the actors’ characterisations show all the essential elements of Hayes’ instructive approach to Stanislavsky and method acting (Acting and Performing 1992), and of Sandra’s precision of style, which are the core of great theatre.  The Ensemble remains a small, personal, human theatre which fulfils the social import expressed in the song by Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly, From Little Things Big Things Grow.

This is exactly how Michael Frayn’s play works.  David is an architect, but the twist is that in the end it’s the big things – like what the community really want – that make his ambition to build 50-storey skyscrapers for housing people, come to nought.  But David is really a very nice man, while his nemesis, Colin, who leads the anti-skyscraper campaign, is worse than unlikeable.  No wonder Sheila, Colin’s wife, is in love with David; while David’s wife Jane has to admit she has just a touch of the dark side, like Colin – but only just enough for her to turn out to be the only practical one of the four.  

The great thing about Kilmurry choosing this play – and working so well with such finely-tuned actors – is that Frayn writes with a surprising yet satisfying combination of a depth of concern for his characters with a great sense of humour.  Time and again, we find ourselves laughing while recognising how real these characters’ thoughts and feelings are – in ourselves.  Each character at different points of conflict tells us directly, individually, how they remember what really happened so that we are not always on the outside looking on, but every now and then take part in the story, as if we had met Jane, Sheila, Colin or David over coffee, at least as acquaintances if not exactly friends.

This device, time-shifting, brings out the clever side of Michael Frayn – and it works a treat.

And then, in addition, here is a play, written in 1984 but, through the characters’ reminiscences about what had actually happened back in the 1960s, reflecting on the very issues – social housing, homelessness, the inflating costs of houses, and the inability of the well-enough off to understand – which London was facing then and we face again today.  

Matt Minto as Colin in anti-skyscraper campaign mode
Megan Drury as Sheila, reading report
in Benefactors, Ensemble 2023

So, in my view, you have no excuse for not going to Kirribilli to see Benefactors in the Ensemble boatshed.  Or perhaps Jordan Best, at The Q, that also quite small if not quite as intimate theatre in Queanbeyan, might make an arrangement with Mark Kilmurry.  I’m sure it would work very well there.

Megan Drury and Emma Palmer
as Sheila and Jane
in Benefactors, Ensemble 2023








Pony by Eloise Snape.

Directed by Anthea Williams. Production designer Isabel Hudson. Lighting design Verity Hampson. Composer and sound designer Me-Lee Hay. Stage Manager Jen Jackson. Performer Briallen Clarke. Griffin Theatre Company. The Courtyard Studio. Canberra Theatre Centre. June 22 – July 1. 2023. Bookings 62752700

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

Briallen Clarke is Hazel in Griffin Theatre Company's PONY

“A comedy so funny that you’ll need an epidural” the marketing  slogan claims. From my very limited experience there is nothing that funny about an epidural. Eloise Snape’s  Pony is all too bitingly real. Described as a coming of middle age story where Hazel (Briallen Clarke) at the age of 37 finds herself pregnant. Pony is a rite of passage for any woman who faces the dread and euphoria of an impending birth. Pony is certainly a comedy. This is obvious as soon as Clarke enters dressed as a cowgirl and nuzzles up to a huge Merry Go Round Rocking Horse on Veronica Hampson’s aqua set in the intimate Courtyard Studio of the Canberra Theatre Centre.  Clarke plays all the characters in Snape’s sharply scripted and acutely observant play from Griffin Theatre Company.

Director Anthea Williams keeps the action moving with imaginative use of the large rocking horse and the intimate stage. But it is Clarke who carries the play brilliantly. She switches character easily from the rather sugary Miss Twinkle at the Glebe Library Rhyme Time for toddlers and their Mums.  To the squeals of delight from some females in the audience Clarke gets the male strip moves down pat at the Bankstown Sports Centre.  Her wild voracious sex life lands damaged lovers in the RPA . And then marries one of them! We meet her mother Clementine and her whisky nipping nan. And she takes a real tongue lashing from her best friend Liv. It’s all grist to the laughter and yes there’s a lot to find funny. That is until reality bites the reality show addicted Hazel.

Playwright Snape knows only too well the perils of pregnancy having been pregnant and given birth to her daughter Winnie during the pandemic. As if giving birth isn’t stressful enough. Being pregnant during the pandemic is an added anxiety. Hazel is fortunate to have gymnastics instructor Trish as her midwife and wise, pragmatic Nan to advise her. It is the camaraderie of best friend Liv, Nan, Trish and Janet (Miss Twinkle) that is there to see Hazel through her terrifying experience. As the spotlight focuses in on a relieved and enraptured mother atop the pony Hazel is seen as the lights fade gently singing a nursery rhyme to her baby Esmae. The wheels on the pregnancy ride have gone round and round in a production that is heartwarming and uplifting, filled with laughter and tears and a wonderment at the miracle of the cycle of life.

Clarke’s versatile performance of Snape’s authentic and entertaining script is given a lively production by director Williams. Clarke is instantly appealing and holds an audience enthralled and absorbed for ninety minutes. Pony is a simple but recognizable testament to the courage of women who give birth. Yes, Pony is a comedy. It is funny but it is much more than that. It is a lesson in empathy. And like all rites of passage, it is an awakening that every man should witness and every woman should see. Above all Pony is a wild ride through one sassy woman’s encounter with her destiny. Highly recommended.