Revenge and Redemption: Pymble Players' Hot Start to 2018 Season

Published: 19-Feb-2018 by All Theatre

Eleanor Pearson
19 February 2018

Pymble Players’ first play of its 2018 season is a risky choice, but one that paid off. Instead of your classic Agatha Christie drama, the theatre is presenting a mystery of a different sort: Eight monologues, written for seven characters, delivered by three actors. The Blonde, The Brunette & The Vengeful Redhead is, by director Racquel Boyd’s own admission, one of the more obscure scripts in her collection. This 2007 Australian play by Robert Hewett  builds in power as each new monologue reveals more information about seemingly unconnected events. The production is exciting, it's fresh, but it’s heavy - when intermission rolled around the full-to-capacity 84-seat theatre was quiet, as the audience processed the drama that had just unfurled before them. The set is minimalistic, leaving the stage open for the actors alone to bring the story to life. As the pace quickens during the second and third monologues, we glean the different characters are somehow interconnected. Throughout the play, skillfully crafted characters speak to us from their hearts (or lack thereof), and each monologue almost stands alone. Act One introduces Rhonda, the redhead. Judy Jankovics’ portrayal is painfully real. Frustrated suburban housewife, Rhonda, has been through the wringer after a messy separation from husband, Graham. There’s much wry comedy in Rhonda's response to her marital woes, but tell-tale signs hint at the full tragedy of the situation. Enter Alex (Faith Jessel), an altruistic, no-nonsense doctor, with a clipped British accent, controlled and controlling, but masking an unspeakable grief. There’s a distinct moment the medical practitioner persona drops, and the woman, in all her human brokenness is revealed. Soon after Rhonda’s interfering best-friend Lynette swanks onto stage, with a cask of wine, and her story. This role is surprisingly also played by Faith Jessel, and you’ve got to wonder how Jessel made the 60 second transition backstage to bring forth such a different performance.
Jan McLachlan's colourful costumes also enhance the characterisations.
Act One ends dramatically with a monologue by four-year-old Matthew, played by Murray Fane, who poignantly captures the innocence and body language of a small child.