Warts & All
Seventeen-year-old Queenslander Simon, retreating at his grandmother’s house after an injury, gets more than he bargained for in the return of a deceased family member. This light-hearted tale of skeletons in the family closet, sometimes subtle, often straightforwardly funny, well paced and well articulated, has much to recommend it.
Characters varied sufficiently to keep it unpredictable; the timing of line delivery was excellent; and the surprises were all happy ones. Simon’s odd north American accent I found distracting; but every part was acted well. Special mention, though, must go to Oliver Baudert, who played Simon’s great-aunt Alice with surprising believability; and especially to Helen Vaughan-Roberts, who, in the role of Simon’s grandmother Margaret, was utterly convincing.
In both his writing and his directing, Bruce Hoogendoorn has gone from strength to strength as he turns out each piece more interesting than the last, with increasing sophistication. Scene changes in this one, although usually as straightforward as could be, sometimes were very interesting, taking advantage of the coexistence of two simple sets at a time on stage; and the story resolves nicely at the end, the strands finally making sense, the characters having learned something valuable along the way.
If you have a couple of hours free, this production offers plenty of laughs.
John P. Harvey
Images: (L–R) Will Huang and Adellene Fitzsimmons & (L–R) Will Huang, Oliver Baudert, and Adellene Fitzsimmons, in Warts & All. Photographer: Kelly McGannon.