By Jake Goodall
Gold Coast Little Theatre’s production of One O’Clock From The House transports the audience right back to the 1980’s with this witty English comedy and is perfect for a great night out at the theatre!
Directed by Dawn China, Gold Coast Little Theatre’s One O’Clock From The House is pure laughter from top to bottom. This company’s rendition of Frank Vickery’s hysterical comedy is something truly special hidden in the heart of Southport. One O’Clock From The House was wonderfully produced by GCLT and remains a beating heart of English comedy!
One O’Clock From The House follows an evolving situation after the death of an elderly father. This estranged family includes a cook who bakes almondless almond cakes, a man who is absolutely convinced his shopping trolley is a dog and a sister who is an extremely happy inmate at a psychiatric home. When their psychiatric patient of a father passes, each of the three sisters received a letter saying they will receive all estate from their father, and when the fourth sister arrives from the psychiatric home, they are thrown into chaos!
With Gold Coast legends behind the creative team, Dawn China and Barry Gibson, it is no doubt that this production is fantastic. The direction is flawless, right down to the intricacies of all the actor’s reactions. Specifically, Lilias Davie in her character of Mavis. In the living room when Margaret, played by Di O’Ferrall, is convincing Mavis to leave the institute and live with her, all Miss Davie does is blow bubbles with gum. But it is one of the magic moments of this show!
The Set design by Russell Williams is beautifully created and brings the audience right into the 1980s. This hyper-realistic set was perfectly designed for versatile use for the actors, from the numerous entranceways and perfectly crafted buffets and shelving this set transports the audience directly into the 1980s. Costume design by Shirley Whitehouse was extremely intricate and perfect for the time period. Particular attention is to be made to the costuming of Mavis, the neon colorful leggings, coupled with the elaborate purses and coats create the perfect image of a stereotypical psychiatric patient. The juxtaposition with Miriam, Margaret and Maureen’s costumes with their conservative funeral outfits adds perfectly to the hilarity of the situation. The beautiful lighting design by Lawire Esmond is inviting and relaxing, it is beautifully complemented by a hanging light In the living room which adds to the appealing 80s vibe the whole production gives off. Every single visual and technical element of this production is crafted with absolute perfection.
The performances from the actors were some of the most realistic acting the Gold Coast community theatre has seen. Miriam played by Shelley Jacks carried the show and delivered a high level performance dealing with the estranged family she is related to. Jimmy Corbett plays her beautiful and loving, yet cynical husband Austin. The chemistry between Austin and Miriam is beautifully mastered and you can cut through the tension with a knife when Miriam puts on her grieving performances.
Del Halpin and Bob Allen played the comedic duo of Avril and Tudor respectively. They were the classic slapstick one liners that this play needed to elevate from good to great! Along with Avril and Tudor, the stand out star of the show was Miss Davie’s rendition of Mavis, the unwanted family member who doesn’t understand any social cues. She immediately lifted the show and the audience were thrilled every single time she waltzed onto the stage. Together with the rest of the cast they created a beautifully hilarious production which even with their Northern English accents, which is no easy feat either!
The only slight criticism to be given to the play is the casting age, there were some inaccuracies within the script and the on-stage age of the actors. Whilst there were some inaccuracies it does not overshadow the brilliance of this play.
Overall Gold Coast Little Theatre’s Production of One O’Clock From The House is beautifully directed for a hilarious night out at the theatre. It is a fun, yet sombre representation into how to mourn as a family and how family relationships aren’t always what they seem to be!
One O’Clock from the House is on stage until Saturday the 11th of December 2021 at Gold Coast Little Theatre in Southport. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to get in quick before they run out!