Managing Carmen

Managing Carmen
Written by David Williamson. Directed by Bianca Butler Reynolds, New Farm Nash Theatre. November 16 – December 8, 2018.

This is another play by Williamson centred around football and one player in particular as his aggressive manager pushes him so he, the manager, can make as much money as possible. Even though the player, Brent Lyall, is an exceptional player, he is a disaster walking in other aspects used to raise money, such as commercials. His manager, Rohan Swift, hires one “lady” to be his girl friend and another to teach him how to relax and live his life. A dirt seeking journalist, Max Oldfield, senses something is amiss and wants to bring everyone down. It takes some time for the audience to learn that our footballing hero is a cross-dresser. He is, in fact, Carmen and, when this is revealed, he has to be managed. This intrigues the audience even more – and - how will his manager use this fact to make more money?

Bianca Butler Reynolds has cast well for this production, which flowed smoothly. The set was very functional for the most part. The platform out into the audience was far too long and something of a distraction. The television images used reflected the champion player very well. Gary Klinger played the demanding role of agent/manager Rohan Swift but, at times, did not show enough variation in his delivery until Act 2. Jack T Murphy was very good in the role of football hero Brent Lyall and his other self, Carmen.  Tanya McCall, Hannah Martin and John Scandurra were the other performers of this consistently high standard, well balanced cast.

It is great to see Australian plays being performed and, more so, when the standard is this good. It is amazing how the topic of the play has become somewhat blasé in today’ssociety but that does not mean this play is not meaningful or very enjoyable. Well done Nash Theatre.

William Davies

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