Sunday, June 11, 2023

The Waltz by David Cole. Directed by Jock McLean. The Q, Queanbeyan. “Q The Locals” Season. June 9-10. Reviwed by ALANNA MACLEAN


   Pauline Mullen in 'The Waltz'

SPLENDID to see The Q supporting and promoting original regional theatre.

David Cole’s The Waltz is a spritely two-hander about a couple of 70  plus year  olds who encounter each other on a cliff above Bondi, only to figure out that they actually have a mutual past.

Alf is a bit of a struggling artist with a stammer, always sketching  faces but not always able to remember who the  people are (or were). Irene is more of a free spirit, with an adult daughter sniping at her heels via an ever-chirping mobile phone. Both were involved with the Sydney Push of the 60s which seems for them to have been more about free love than political ideas.

Now I was studying at Sydney Uni for a good part of the 60s but no expert on the politics or the pubs, having no choice but to put my head down, study and avoid a future working in shorthand and typing.

But the intensity of the times doesn’t quite come across in this play. Perhaps Irene and Alf have mellowed  in ways that my parents, veterans of the 1930s Workers Art Club in Sydney and annoying Hitler with Clifford Odets’ Till The Day I Die never quite seemed to do. 

However, the play works well as a piece about a kind of reconciliation in the shadow of impending mortality.

Martin Saunders  makes Alf a likeable survivor of life’s crises and Pauline Mullen’s Irene is a lively and feeling Irene who challenges Alf’s shyness while battling the increasing difficulties her own life is throwing at her.

It is an absorbing dance along the way, with two strong and perceptive performances at its heart, waltzing away like mad