Titanic – The Diamond of Dreams

Titanic – The Diamond of Dreams
By Ken Cotterill and Tanya Paige. Richmond Players. Director: Neridah James. Richmond School of Arts. Nov 4, 11, 18, 24, 2023

The flyer says: “The movie will never be the same again” and it’s not wrong! This is a spoof on the movie, with the sort of innuendo and slapstick you might expect from a 1970s British sit com! There aren’t any chases or slamming doors, but there is a “knees up” in steerage, and some funny goings on in one of the cabins … and in a car stored in the cargo hold!

There are some strange characters including young Rose’s fiancé, an American “sausage millionaire” and a steerage class hero – called Jack of course!  – who sweeps Rose off her feet but leaves her stranded on the ship when he jumps into one of the two lifeboats when the ship hits an ice cube – yes! An ice cube! – one of many that are thrown overboard by some big drinkers in first class …. I did mention slapstick!

The true story of the Titanic is mentioned only briefly – and discounted by the ‘heroine’. The only links to the movie are ‘plays’ on the names of the actors and characters … and a very familiar scene on the bow of the ship!

The story of this version of the Titanic is told by old “Rose” who explains how, as that young, forsaken maid, she stayed on board while the ship drifted to Iceland where she was saved and has managed to live to an unimaginably old age. With flashbacks to that long ago journey, she shares her story with two modern day pirates who are searching for a legendary diamond that they believed was ‘lost’ with the ship.

Director Neridah James plays ‘old Rose’, bent and a little shakey but with a memory unaffected by age or time, and a personality strong enough to control the impatience of her greedy inquisitors, Lovell and Bodine played by Jared Turner and Davo Hardy.

Benjamin Webb and Lily Ritchie play Jack and young Rose. Jony Teperski plays the haughty sausage seller. New to the Richmond stage they bring the energy and naivety of youth to the production. Nickolas Noel plays a hearty Captain Smith. He is joined briefly in flashbacks to the captain’s table and the bridge by other Richmond stalwarts Joel Baltaks, Heloise Tolar, Rachel Crew and Jake Warner (who is more often seen working behind the scenes at Richmond, rather than on the stage).

Richard Littlehales, Graham Fairbrother and John Bell are Jack’s steerage associates with Fairbrother and Bell donning sailor’s navy and white for a brief scene in the crow’s nest! David Griffiths plays a waiter – and a tour guide on the Titanic replica!

This is what happens when two Australian writers get hold of a silly idea – and make it even sillier. While the characters of ‘old’ Rose, and to some extent Lovell and Bodine, have some chance at character development, the flashbacks to the ship are so short that there is little chance for the actors to do much more than deliver their lines with a much punch as they can! Only the character of Molly Brown has any depth and that is mainly innuendo – which Rachel Crew delivers with appropriate suggestiveness!

Still, the production gets some laughs – and as Richmond’s final show of the year is traditionally theatre-restaurant style, the audience is well fed as well as entertained. There are two performances to go.

Check Richmond Players website or Facebook page for booking details.

Carol Wimmer

Photographer: Penelope Johnson

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