‘Look Who’s Talking’ was well-suited.
Making audiences laugh with their latest comedy ‘Look Who’s Talking’, Act 1 Theatre has chosen a fitting play to start their 2019 season.
Not to be confused with the 1989 rom-com of the same name, which starred John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, the play edition of ‘Look Who’s Talking’, by Derek Benfield, follows a complicated series of misunderstandings and mistaken identities. When two unexpected guests ‘drop in’ on a married couple, Sheila (played by Wendy Kemp) and Andrew (played by Pat O’Callaghan), a hilarious web of lies and half-truths are revealed to cover the pair’s respective infidelities.
Total mayhem was realised in this gung-ho comedy, as the story reached ridiculous lengths and farcical behaviour to hide what really happened between the mischievous partners. Such a concept proved to be a great selection for any community group, with the play itself suited to the demographic that frequents Act 1 Theatre.
Within the storyline, there was plenty of slapstick and exaggerated humour that was reminiscent of golden-era and old-fashioned comedy. For a rainy Sunday matinee, ‘Look Who’s Talking’ managed to bring light and laughs to those who visited the little theatre in Strathpine.
The highlight of the production was in the theatres amazing set design by Chris Sargent and Terry Frawley and constructed by Act 1 Theatre’s team of volunteers. The thorough construction of a lounge room, with a garden out back, elongated hallway and doorways that led off to various rooms promoted audible gasps of surprise when curtains opened and allowed plot points to unfold flawlessly. Attention to detail was exceptional – from paintings to fixings, to the light at the entrance way of the ‘home’ and the depth within the hallway that led to the kitchen. The design really set the scene and permitted the audience to easily establish and imagine the overall structure of the house.
Director, Terry Frawley, has ensured pace and action moved steadily around and throughout the space. Using all corners of the stage, actors could confidently transition between spaces. Although a feat to navigate, there were opportunities where the play could be tightened in sections, as on occasion, comedic timing was missed and actor’s lines slipped. Despite these minor mistakes, it was evident the audience was none the wiser. Their reactions to jokes had them in hysterics and fortunately, slip-ups weren’t too noticeable as gags were plentiful.
Wendy Kemp, as the confused and bewildered wife Sheila, excelled in her role. She was frantic and disordered, especially when her lover showed up unannounced. Her commitment to character allowed the audience to really feel for her mishaps and be sympathetic over the pickled mess she had created. On the other side of the chaos, Pat O’Callaghan, played Kemp’s sneaky husband, Andrew. There was an enjoyable moment between the two that stood-out – when Kemp was caught up in her own secrets and had the magazine upside down. The simplicity of the humour and chemistry between the pair sold the story. At times, O’Callaghan could have been more suspicious as his character, especially when his career as a solicitor was revealed.
Another standout performance came from Kimberley Wood as the determined and young secretary, Carole. Wood’s dedication to her role made her performance believable and professional. With every cheese-ball eaten, Wood’s didn’t miss a beat – even if that meant preventing confusion and correcting other’s line blunders.
Rounding out the cast, Mark Anthony’s performance as Brian was overly-hammy and melodramatic, but for this style of theatre, it surprisingly worked. He had the audience in the palm of his hands. Anne Olsson joined the cast later in act one, as Sheila’s best friend, Jane. Olsson brought energy and enthusiasm to her role, adding another element in a very twisted and complicated storyline.
One thing’s for certain, Act 1 Theatre welcomed new and returning patrons with ease. It was clear there was an abundance of love within this community group that translated positively with their regular patronage. ‘Look Who’s Talking’ was well-matched fun for a theatre that revels in entertaining many. The show was everything you could have wanted from a traditional slapstick comedy.
‘Look Who’s Talking’ performs until Saturday, 23 March 2019. For tickets, book online at www.act1theatre.com.au.