Review by Jake Goodall
Dot your I’s and Cross your T’s for this conflict resolution conference at Enabling & Caring, they just so happen to not be so caring.
‘Charitable Intent,’ is the third and final play in the beloved community conference trilogy by Australian writer David Williamson. Following ‘Face to Face’ and ‘A Conversation’, this punchy and sharp play continues the story of professional workplace mediator, Jack Manning, directed by Gael Ballantyne.
Manning has been called over to help at Enabling and Caring (E&C), a not-for-profit organisation that assists the intellectually and physically impaired. However, when a directorial dispute becomes hostile, the company spirals out of control, leaving Manning to restore the balance.
The set, designed by Ballantyne, brings the familiar and mundane board room environment to life in a minimal yet effective way. This simple set is positioned in front of a full-length glass wall, accentuating an unassuming set of chairs and a refreshment table adorned with hot tea and coffee. Additionally, the lighting design by Ian Landel complements the humble stage setting, making the audience feel like a fly on the wall of this office dispute.
During this single act performance, most characters are either sitting at their chairs or milling around the refreshment table. Although the blocking occasionally feels strained, detracting from the intimate, true-to-life atmosphere Ballantyne endeavours to create, the storytelling and simplicity of the conference room setting makes for an interesting experience and an entertaining night out.
This hilarious performance could not have been complete without its star-studded ensemble cast. Jack, the mediator, is played by the fantastic Sean Curran. Curran has been seen across the Gold Coast theatre scene recently and continues to prove that he is the King of Comedy! Curran brings hilarity and depth to this otherwise plain character wonderfully demonstrating his comedic ability.
Playing the autocratic CEO Bryony, is Tara Page. Page brings a transcendent, arrogant aura to this character, instilling fear and distress into anyone who crosses her. The Chair of the Board Brian is played by Gold Coast Theatre steward Phillip Victor. Brian is the charming old body of the company and is blind with passion for a new strategy. Amanda, the Head of Project Management is being played by the amazing Kate McNair. McNair is proof that you can develop both a deeply dramatic and side splittingly hilarious character in 80 minutes and as the absolute star of the show, she dazzles the audience with her intensity.
The hard-hitting researcher is played by Tamara Hamilton, a wonderful actress whose rage could be felt from the rafters. Hamilton’s character persistently calls out their co-workers for their mistreatment and is out for blood as she tells it how it is. The newly appointed Financial Controller is being played by Catalina Palma as her first role on the Gold Coast. Palma presents a composed take on her character in a beautifully nuanced way and when cracks appear in the financial controller’s façade, Palma strikingly exhibits her emotional aptitude.
Jam Marshall plays the ditzy Head of PR & Marketing, Giulia (Pronounced Julia), who’s snooty and loyal character never even leaves the GCLT stage. Rounding out this fantastic Cast is Dee Nand playing Tamsyn, the Human Resources Executive. Nand remains reserved through the first half of the play, however, when he is accused of multiple professional misconducts the nice guy persona gives way.
Unfortunately, throughout opening night line dropping occurred multiple times, even to the point where a prompt was required. Sadly, this greatly subtracted from the immersive intent of the performance. However, as the season progresses and the performers settle into their characters, this small hitch will surely fade.
All in all, Gold Coast Little Theatre’s ‘Charitable Intent’ is a fantastic night out for people of any age. You are sure to be entertained throughout this 80-minute one act with its ups, downs, twists, and turns.
All that’s left to say is BRAVO!
Gold Coast Little Theatre’s production of ‘Charitable Intent’ runs until the 23rd of July and tickets are sure to run out fast! Get in quick!