Playhouse Creatures

Playhouse Creatures
By April De Angelis. Directed by Jordan Best. Produced by Pigeonhole Theatre. Q Theatre, Queanbeyan. March 31 – April 9, 2016

Playhouse Creatures makes wonderful debut by Canberra’s new theatre company, Pigeonhole Theatre.

With the Restoration of the English monarchy following the Civil War, there were new moves regarding theatre, such as having women on stage, playing the parts written for female characters. Playhouse Creatures looks at the lives of four actresses of this time, each with her own character and attitude marvellously depicted by the talented members of this company. This was surely a time of opportunity for some women, although inequalities in many areas still remained, and the play includes these devastating choices.

Mary Betterton was played by Karen Vickery, blending authority and pathos. Elizabeth Farley was played by Jenna Roberts and Nell Gwynn by Amy Dunham. Their verbal sparring was particularly good. Liz Bradley played Doll Common, a mixture of Cockney common sense and humour.

The spirit of Restoration England is captured beautifully in the costume design by Anne Kay, and the imaginative set designed by Christiane Nowak. The music was composed by Matthew Webster and with Jordan Best’s sensitive interpretation through her cello playing, there was an almost-cinematic audio atmosphere.

Canberra audiences should look forward to the next production from this talented company.

Rachel McGrath-Kerr

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