>footy molls by hotcurrie theatre

>reviewed by guest writer kheng siew hua

>date: 9 nov 2002
>time: 8pm
>venue: dbs arts centre
>rating: not rated

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

                           
>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some indefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


>>>>>A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME


I must confess that I did have expectations of FOOTY MOLLS when I took my seat at the DBS Arts Centre last Saturday. To begin with, this was a play which had taken at least 18 months in the scripting by the acclaimed director of 'The Expat Wife' and I was mindful that this was potentially the play that was to be performed in Brisbane at the prestigious Queensland Performing Arts Centre barely 3 days later - save a few minor cast changes - and subsequently back again to Sydney and Melbourne in March 2003... not to mention a TV pilot in Perth at the end of 2002.

And as the audience were treated to a very apt prologue - an opening sequence in front of the television in slow motion with clever use of lights and music, I sat back ready to watch the weaving of a story of wit and humour about 9 friends on grand final day.

Almost immediately, it struck me how much effort and attention had been paid to the set dressing and the costumes, from Ugg Boots worn by at least 3 of the 9 cast members, to cardigans, beanies, scarves and flannelette shirts. You could be forgiven for forgetting that Ugg boots are not the easiest things to find in a place like Singapore, and neither are garden gnomes. Indeed, considering all this, as well as the woolly sheepskin rugs and the black and white beanbags in the living room, it was clear that someone must have gone to Spotlight thousands of times.

>>'In Saturday's performance, pace, timing and energy were the culprits of the day. The lack of these meant that gags fell flat and punch lines barely tickled.'


Alas, I could not understand why the general lighting was what it was - a little low on the wattage. It tended to add a sort of depressed mood to the action on stage, which was anything but. Brightening up the lights and perhaps giving them a little more variety, would have been lovely.

I have no doubt that this was a play that had every chance of bringing the house down. In her 18 months of writing, the playwright had cleverly fashioned 9 very distinct larger than life female characters to be the backbone of the play, and the presence of these characters was in itself a treat for the audience, especially as each new character added to the dramatic mix during the course of the play was even more outrageous than the last and therefore increased the audience's anticipation of the next one along.

In my humble opinion, Jerrie Redman-Lloyd who played EJ, Jacqueline and Richard Phillips who played Narelle and Lenny/Anchor A respectively, and Jenny Bedford who played Bunny were simply delightful as performers on stage; all the others fell completely flat. And as this was an ensemble piece with no character big enough to carry the play on her own, this kind of thing matters.


Having said that, one character did have the potential to bring the house down more than the others: Celeste, the sex worker, played by Sandra Bass. Unfortunately, Bass never quite reached the larger than life status that Narelle and Bunny had established when they entered the scene, and the potential went unfulfilled. Similarly, Audrey Currie, doing dual honours as director and actor, proved her versatility at the cost of appearing exhausted on stage.

In Saturday's performance, pace, timing and energy were the culprits of the day. The lack of these meant that gags fell flat and punch lines barely tickled. And it was a great shame, because this was a well-written script with some great casting, but the staging and delivery needed a little more work because, as is always the case, comedy is deceptively difficult to deliver and deliver well.

>Kheng has never acted on stage unless you count her Sec 2 days in ELDDS and till this day, marvels at how
actors can perform such a life-threatening stunt as that for a living. She is passionate about watching theatre, though, especially comedies and musicals.