Review: Hāwera Repertory Society's God of Carnage, reviewed by Alyssa Smith.
Described as a comedy of manners without the manners, I had no idea what to expect in Hāwera Repertory Society's God of Carnage.
Any expectations I may have had were exceeded by the cast and their wonderful performance of the play.
My plus one, who has acted in plays before, thoroughly enjoyed the performance, commenting that it also exceeded his expectations.
I attended a dress rehearsal and I can whole-heartedly say that this play will have audiences laughing and captivated.
God of Carnage was written by Yasmina Reza and is a fast-paced comedic satire.
The play has won a Tony and a Laurence Olivier award. It has since been made into a film.
The play is set in Paris at Veronique and Michel Vallon's home.
The couple are the parents of Bruno, who had an altercation with Ferdinand, the son of Annette and Alain Reille. They invite Annette and Alain over to discuss the behaviour of their sons.
Even before the play started, I knew where it was set.
The clever use of French songs playing transported me to Paris, capturing my attention and immersing me fully into the play. I wasn't just watching, I was there.
Modern props made it obvious the play was set in current times.
With just one set, the play felt like one continuous shot, running for 90 minutes with no scene changes or breaks.
The use of deliberate silence between lines showed just how awkward it can be meeting someone under negative circumstances.
Under director Clive Cullen's instruction, the cut and thrust of the dialogue was well executed and took the audience right into the heart of the action.
The four actors perfectly showed the predominant themes of the play, conflict and human nature.
Within the 90 minutes, I saw the transition of mature adults with manners, to petty and uncouth children.
For me, it was Ron Scott playing Alain Reille who took the play to the next level.
His presence on the stage was outstanding, never breaking character and always doing something clever in between lines.
His costume spoke business and that's what he showed with his smart remarks and prompt nature.
He owned his role and perfectly complemented the other actors.
Annette Reille, married to Alain, played by Donella Weir started out as the calmest and most rational character. As things got heated, she too succumbed to the childish and petty ways.
Helen Snook, playing Veronique Vallon, married to Michel Vallon, set the mood of the play instantly. From the get-go, I knew she meant business.
Her costume perfectly depicted her as a caring mother who wanted the best outcome for her son, but with a little pressure her attitude changed periodically as the play progressed.
Michel Vallon was the perfect example of how things can change and how appearances don't always match the personality.
The chemistry between Michel and Veronique and Annette and Alain was perfect, having me convinced they were couples of many years, bickering and arguing as the play went on.
The play is intended for older audiences with language and content maybe offending some people.
I highly recommend going to see this play as it perfectly meets the description of a comedy of manners without the manners.
■ God of Carnage runs March 20- 27 at the Hāwera Repertory Society building on Collins Street. Tickets are $28 and are available from Hāwera i-SITE and Ticket Rocket.