What The Rabbi Saw // Thundering Productions

Review by Jake Goodall

Watch out for this slapstick comedy as pre-wedding jitters come out to play

As he prepares to marry Wendy, Walter commits a last-minute act of infidelity… an hour before the wedding… with his bride’s sister. This crazy, slapstick farce by Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore takes us on a non-stop rollercoaster of hilarity filled with physical comedy and witty dialogue. As Walter tries to cover up the affair from the Rabbi, the over-stressed wedding co-ordinator, Wendy, and – most of all – Wendy’s parents.

Directed by Jack Lovett, this production is filled to the brim with hard hitting slapstick farce. Choreography of Chaos is a tricky thing to direct but Lovett does so excellently. This production is a perfect staging of physical comedy with all the performers bringing the heat from the first up beat.

Act One is filled with fast paced comedy whereas Act Two loses a bit of that slapstick feel as it focusses more on the miscommunications from the guests. Helensvale Library & Cultural Centre is a fantastic location to stage this production with ample space for both production and audience.

The set is simple and very effective. Based in a hotel room for the entire show, the cast interacts with almost every item in the set. It’s clear that Lovett has deeply thought through the need for every prop and set item in this production.

From the get go, Dan Pohlmann (Walter) and Chantelle Miller (Claudia) are the comedic standouts in this production. Their performances are casual and really connected with the audience throughout the entire production.

Mr & Mrs Kirschenbaum are played by Nicholas Hurst and Deb Danes respectively. Hurst and Danes play a couple very much out of love. Danes, in particular, is very demure and concealed until they finally break and reveal their true thoughts; a moment the audience is absolutely rooting for!

Mikayla Maree Melo (Wendy) and Mitchell Treacy (Mitch) are fantastic actors and bring depth to their characters even in this slapstick farce; a difficult task to do in a comedy production, Bravo!

Rounding out this cast is Katie Ridley (Lainie), George Pulley (Vinnie), Brad Kendrick (Rabbi Huchelman) and Jack Lovett (Noel). Each of these actors brings tension and hilarity to this production and all fit perfectly in their place.

Whilst this comedy is a fantastic night out, this reviewer would question the relevance of the content of the production to today’s society. This production has the audience laughing at misogyny and disloyalty, which can be funny if done correctly. However, what implications does this have once the audience leaves the theatre? This reviewer would task production companies to consider their choice of shows carefully to ensure they are spreading the right message into the world, even if it is funny.

Overall, What The Rabbi Saw is a good night out which kept us laughing for 2 hours. Supporting independent theatre and local talent is incredibly important, and integral to our community’s survival.

What The Rabbi Saw played until the 5 November 2022 at the Helensvale Library and Cultural Centre. For more information visit Thundering Productions website.

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