Secret Bridesmaids' Business

Secret Bridesmaids' Business
By Elizabeth Coleman. Canberra Repertory Society. Directed by Geoffrey Borny. Theatre 3, Acton (ACT) 4 to 19 March, 2011

Elizabeth Coleman's telling comedy highlights the dilemma of whether to reveal a devastating secret to the woman it most concerns—through its relevance to her imminent wedding.  This play stands out for its serious but funny treatment both of the broad ways in which we might deal with such a problem and of what the problem reflects of our deepest needs, for loyalty, for love, for committed friendship, and for being understood.

The play's most unusual feature -- aside perhaps from a quirk in language that led an otherwise apparently intelligent character twice to uncharacteristically use "Me and Bill did this" kid talk -- was probably its use of dramatic monologues, which each of the leads carried off splendidly and which were lit to perfection.

 

The stage tends to lead characters to speak overly loudly to each other.  This staging showed great engagement between all the characters.

 

Heather Spong's exercise in bridesmaid tipsiness in particular and Trish Kell's entire performance (grammatical slips aside, whoever's responsibility they actually were) as interfering mother of the bride were remarkably convincing.  But all actors played their parts well indeed.

 

As usual in Rep productions, everything was extremely well done: stage design, costuming, sound, lighting.  But this is a terrific production of a play outstanding for its hold on your heart between laughs aplenty.

 

John P. Harvey

 

Image: Martin Searles and Lainie Hart, in Secret Bridesmaids' Business.  Photo: Helen Drum

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