Silver Lining

Silver Lining
By Sandi Toksvig. Directed by Brian Hinselwood. Presented by Centenary Theatre Group. Chelmer Community Centre, 11 May – 1 June, 2019

A group of senior women in a care facility are trapped by rising floodwaters. All hopes for rescue seem dashed, when help appears in the form of a young woman called Hope. In preparing to evacuate, the women fight off a looter, challenge one another’s beliefs and reveal some of their darkest regrets.

As we’re experiencing more and more extreme weather events, a large percentage of Australia’s population is ageing, and the treatment of seniors in nursing homes is under the spotlight, this play’s themes are very relevant. Many of the characters are somewhat stereotypical: June, the racist, religious conservative; Gloria, outspoken, rebellious, tech savvy and young at heart; Maureen, who seems stuck obsessing over past glory days and regrets; dementia patient St. Michael; Hope the millennial rescue worker; and Jed the thief.

The easily recognisable characters appear to heighten the audience’s enjoyment of the farce. Many of the viewpoints and life experiences emerging in the show appear highly relatable to the mostly senior crowd of community theatre supporters. It’s wonderful to see their joy at viewing a show targeting their tastes so specifically.

The one-room-set by Rhyll Bucknell and Tristan Holland is well realised and gives the performers a lot of areas to play around. Direction by Brian Hinselwood makes best use of the space and the cast’s abilities. There’s a lot of humour and fun in the music choices – almost all of which have storm or rain themes. Lighting is best during the lightning, which gets a few jumps out of the more highly-strung audience members present.

The show runs at a leisurely pace, with cast members often a little slow to pick up cues. Despite this, teamwork is strong, and their dedication is palpable. Best acting in the cast is delivered by Penny Murphy as May Trickett. May is also the most well rounded of the characters in Toksvig’s script. Penny does a great job of bringing realism to the character. Julie Moran is very entertaining as the more flamboyant character of Gloria. She attacks the alpha female role with gusto.

While younger people may enjoy this show, Silver Linings is definitely made for the 60+ age group. It has a little language and adult themes, but nothing that will raise an eyebrow on the generation that were once hippies and punk rockers.

Kiesten McCauley 

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