Aubyn Live Theatre
St Aubyn St, Hastings
From today until July 23
Reviewed by Keith Russell
Walking past the above's theatre and hearing the sounds of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, one might be forgiven for thinking a children's class was in attendance but no, what you are hearing is the national anthem of the newly independent kingdom of the "Sunshine Retirement Home".
This comedy, by New Zealand playwright Devon Williamson, is Aubyn Live Theatre's latest production and with director Stephanie Drew throwing in a mix of lovable, eccentric characters, singing their revolutionary song will be the only time laughter will not be heard in this very funny show.
Glenn Cameron, as Howie the former salesman, is given the dubious honour of presenting the "we knew this would be in the show" flatulence jokes but his interaction with Patricia, the former High Court judge, played with suitable disapproval by Brenda Conlon, makes the well-worn lines seem fresh.
There is really good chemistry between these two but providing excellent support was Lisa Nickel as Shirley, the resident wild child of the 1960s looking for one last show of militancy to go with her memories of being a former trade union firebrand.
All revolutions need the staunch iron backbone and Canon provided this, nicely offset by what I thought would "be the voice of reason" - the thoughtful Peggy, played by Joyanne Morrison, whose role expanded, as did her confidence.
Revolutions need an anarchist and Ross Kennedy, as Doug the retired farmer , skilfully played that role but it was Barbara O'Sullivan, as Elizabeth the dementia suffer, who took on a demanding role and showed how years of theatre experience can provide seamless believability.
I am sure that in her role of the Queen she was as "amused" as we were watching her.
Kayla Anderson was energetic as Ashley the local reporter, with several agendas of her own to advance her big break.
All scenes take place on one set, nicely decorated by props manager Barbara Speers and I did like how no curtain was used - just a dark stage during scene changes.
There was some good lighting and particularly effective sound effects, controlled by Jared Thorne and Emily Buchanan.
The revolutionary statement was skilfully handled and good marks were hit in the press conference.
This play shows just how a skilful blend of writer, director, actors and backstage can produce a comedy that deserves to go on your "must-see" list.