Foiled by Dame Christie’s trickery?

A couple of months ago I held my breath and ventured to the local theatre only to find myself very impressed with Hervey Bay’s Z-Pac Theatre’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest.

In fact, the show was so remarkable I wonder if it set the bar too high for subsequent productions.

I know it’s kinda tragic but I’m a HUGE Agatha Christie fan – something I’ve confessed to in my Debbish blog. So, it was with great excitement that I went along to Z-Pac’s A Murder is Announced during its current season.

From The Fraser Coast Chronicle

From The Fraser Coast Chronicle

And… I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed.

Most of the cast were great, with Lorraine Lee’s Bunny, Brownwyn Bennett’s Mitzi and the younger cast the standouts.

I met Director Ken Lee at an arts event a month or so before the play and he mentioned the difficulty in translating Christie’s work for the stage. Perhaps that was partially the problem. It all seemed a little clunky to me and my friends and I agreed we were holding our breath on occasions, lest the actors forget their words or fluff their lines.

As I have a memory like a sieve and lack the confidence required to perform for an audience I have nothing but admiration for all of the cast and crew. So, while not having the panache of Z-Pac’s earlier Earnest, A Murder is Announced made for an entertaining evening out and I don’t feel the need to discount the local theatre anytime soon.

Good, not bad; charming not tedious

“It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.” Oscar Wilde

A couple of weeks ago I shuffled off to Hervey Bay’s Z-Pac theatre in Zephyr Street, to see its production of  The Importance of Being Earnest.

I have to admit to practically being a local theatre virgin, vaguely recalling a play I saw in my hometown of Maryborough back in my school days, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My fellow theatre-goer and I decided we shouldn’t be too judgemental and I (quite possibly) set the what-will-I-think-of-this bar quite low.

And was I surprised!?! (Hint: it’s a rhetorical question!)

The two male leads were superb. Bradley Chapman, the play’s director, was excellently annoying as Algernon Moncrieff… one of the play’s two E(a)rnests. His performance and Wilde’s words resulting in much chuckling and guffawing. Michael Ware as John Worthing was also excellent and his frustrated E(a)rnest was convincing. My personal fave was probably Tamara Bailey’s Lady Bracknell (Algernon’s aunt and mother to John’s love interest). Her haughty and comedic delivery was perfect.

Taylor Dunn and Tayla Harding were great as Gwendolyn and Cecily and I was mightily impressed by Jonathon Dunn’s changing accents in his dual roles. In fact, I was quite shocked that the cast maintained their English accents for the entire play. No easy feat I assume.

And as for the script / dialogue…. how they could memorise those lines is beyond me. I can barely remember my own phone number! *Insert slight pause while I try to test this assertion!*

The production was polished, sets simple but effective and costumes good. I particularly liked the segway between the first two acts and the move from London to Herfortshire… it was very smooth in its unashamed obviousness (Dunn’s dual character physically changing – jacket, boots and hat – from Algernon’s supercilious butler to John’s ummm… more-common manservant).

All in all it was an excellent start to my local theatre-going adventures and I’ll certainly be back for more. In fact… I even downloaded a Z-Pac application form wondering if I could be of some use behind the scenes!

*Photograph compliments of The Fraser Coast Chronicle.