Rhinestone Rex & Miss Monica

Rhinestone Rex & Miss Monica
By David Williamson. Ensemble Theatre Production Gardens Theatre, Brisbane. Director: Sandra Bates. 4-6 September 2012 (Touring Nationally)

The touring production of the Ensemble Theatre’s 2011 hit two-hander play by David Williamson features Alexander Fowler as Monica and original cast member Glenn Hazeldine as Gary/Rhinestone Rex.

This comedy/drama treads familiar ground by throwing two people together with opposing views and letting the sparks fly. They meet when Monica employs Gary to renovate her kitchen. Both characters come with emotional baggage. Gary was father to a downs syndrome child but walked out on the marriage to pursue his dream of becoming a country music star. He failed and carries the guilt of his actions. Monica was a Sydney Symphony violinist until she developed tendonitis. She too carries a guilt - that of being hailed as a child prodigy who never quite made it. She hates country music and he loves it. Likewise she adores classical music and he loathes it.

Will they find common ground? Will they get together for the final fadeout? Written in short, sharp scenes, the play feels more like a movie than a theatre-piece. Fowler and Hazeldine gave amiable and likeable performances and delivered their comedy punch lines with finesse. There’s little emotional depth for them to play but who cares, this is a stage rom-com and as such it is highly entertaining. There’s a large audience for this type of product. It should do well on its tour.

Peter Pinne  

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