‘My Husband’s Nuts’ was exuberant.
Mates Theatre Genesis welcomed audiences on a crisp winter’s night to celebrate the opening of their most recent production, ‘My Husband’s Nuts’. Written by Devon Williamson, the play hilariously explores a series of unlikely events that begin with a rural farmer, Jack, taking a knock to the head. Through his concussion, he begins to believe that he, and his family, are actually characters from a book he once read. Add in a town vet, a daughter returned home from the big-smoke, and a local law-enforcement enthusiast, and you have all the ingredients for a fun night at the theatre.
Director Mark Harrison brought this tongue-in-cheek, lively comedy to life with a clear vision for energy and vitality – something the show required. While some of the scenes were not as cleanly rehearsed as they could have been, and there was some fumbling over dropped lines, the play continued at pace under Harrison’s high-spirited direction.
The simple but effective set design, also by Harrison, dropped us neatly into the world of the Fitzgerald’s. With its pine wooden hutch, beaten down three seater couch, and a healthy dose of gingham, we could have been in any regional home in Australia. Lighting design by James Auld was mostly static but washed the stage in a warm and balanced light. However, some of the lighting cues at the end of each scene were a little too slow to match with the pace of the show, but this will tighten as the production moves through its run.
As the injured and increasingly unstable farmer, Jack, Andrew McArthur brought a fantastic mix of Australian stoicism and playful banter to the role. His focus and attention to detail during the long stretches onstage, when the story was not on his character were wonderful, and audience members who caught on to his antics were treated to a show within a show. McArthur’s considered approach to dealing with the skin of a banana was a particular highlight.
Long-suffering wife and baker extraordinaire Baraba, played by Libby Harrison, was a neat match for both McArthur’s surly monosyllabic nature, and the “madness” of his behaviour as the story unfolded. Harrison brought a serious consideration to the comedy, grounding the action and letting the audience breathe between each of the more comical scenes. Her balance between lost house-wife and capable 2IC of a farm was well struck, and there was a charm to her prolific muffin baking that resonated with the audience.
As new-to-the-region veterinarian Jo, Diana Gogulski presented a solid performance. She gave the audience a window into the slowly worsening craziness that was enveloping Jack and his family. Gogulski mostly kept her scenes moving, but occasionally dropped lines which affected the pacing of the show. Despite this, she was always quick to recover and dove back into the scene.
The most outstanding performance of the night was given by Stephen Corrigan as Terry – the alarm system installation, law enforcement wannabe. His energy commanded the stage every second he was on it, and his focus on each moment was laser-like. It was wonderful to see Corrigan temper some of his over the top moments, bringing a more down to earth, lovable side to the character. It would have been excellent to see a little more of this throughout.
Carolyn Wagner was also bright and bubbly as Charli, bringing a much needed youthful energy to the production. There were some moments where her performance was stilted, and it felt as though she was not given enough to do, but by far Wagner’s work with Corrigan was some of the most charming and earnest of the night.
If you are looking for a mad-cap night at the theatre with plenty of laughs to keep your night rollicking along, ‘My Husband’s Nuts’ is the show you’ve been looking for. Don’t miss this heartwarming night at the theatre.
‘My Husband’s Nuts’ runs until Saturday, 3 August 2019. For ticketing information visit Mates Theatre Genesis Website.