Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors
By Janet Shaw. Murray Music and Drama Club. Directed by Tammy Peckover. Pinjarra Civic Centre, WA. March 10-17, 2023

While Behind Closed Doors would never be described as a “fun” show, this moving play, thoughtfully directed and well-performed makes for fulfilling and entertaining viewing.

The subject matter may have diminished the size of the matinee audience, which is a shame as this production would not disappoint. As this show deals with domestic violence, the club has taken the step of providing support in the form of Ovis Community Services workers in the foyer to help anyone for whom the story raises concerns.

Murray Music and Drama Club have created a solid and striking split set, coordinated by Andy Peckover, showing the two very different homes of the Heptinstall and Pollock families. Costumes, from Tammy Peckover, Polly Bonner and Christina Tregg, are well chosen for character and the era. The show is lit with emotional sensitivity by Rp van der Westhuizen and sound is managed nicely by Lori Anders.

Set in 1969, Behind Closed Doors follows the families of Sandra Heptinstall and Tarquin Pollock, who meet at university and fall in love. Their families have little in common, except that the fathers in each family are both bullies who are violent and abusive towards their wives. Meg Bourke and Steven Jones are very believable as the young couple and deliver moving and touching performances.

The remainder of the Heptinstall Family are also a credible family unit. Andy Peckover plays against type as patriarch Eddie, quick with both wit and fists, in an unnerving, strong performance. Jodie Bonner is lovely as the bullied Pearl, a woman with strength, but an inability to leave (her scenes with Christina Treg are especially poignant). Luca Daniel provides much needed light relief as dim-witted son Kevin.

Trevor Delaporte delivers what may be his best performance to date as the formidable, and often cruel Vernon Pollock - although it was a shame that he used his natural accent, as an upper-class British accent would have been an asset to the role. Christina Treg is excellent as Harriet Pollock - a complex and interesting character.

The final role is that of Pearl’s imaginary friend. Thomas is the perfect man that is everything her husband is not. He is played with great panache by Jarrad Thomas - who has fun with accents and has oodles of charm.

Director Tammy Peckover’s best production to date, Behind Closed Doors is a strong production that deals with important issues with care. It deserves to be seen.

Kimberley Shaw

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter, buy our latest print edition or find a Performing Arts book at Book Nook.