Review: ‘Warts and All’ and well rehearsed

theatre
“Warts and All”
Written, produced and directed by Bruce Hoogendoorn
At Canberra Theatre Courtyard Studio until April 12.
Reviewed by Simone Penkethman

“WARTS and All” is a well rehearsed and strongly performed new comedy by prolific local playwright, Bruce Hoogendoorn.

Adellene Fitzsimmons and Will Huang.

Adellene Fitzsimmons and Will Huang.

It’s delivered with unpretentious charm by a strong cast led by two rival grandmothers. Oliver Baudert in drag is perfect as Alice, a boastful old woman who would go to the opening of a hat box. Helen Vaughn-Roberts’ Margaret is dry, wry and played with impeccable timing. The relationship between Margaret and her depressed teenage grandson Simon (Will Huang) is strong, funny and real.

The intergenerational ghost story tackles themes of family pride, personal identity and reconciliation with the past. While visiting his grandmother because he is ill, depressed and has just failed school, Simon is in turn visited by the amnesic ghost of a sports coach (Rob De Fries).

This haunting leads Simon on a quest through family history during which he meets a high-achieving love interest, solves a 70-year-old family mystery and begins his own recovery.

Hoogendoorn is an insightful and compassionate writer whose characters are as likeable as they are funny. There is nothing groundbreaking about his style of drawing room comedy, but he does it well. The lighting and set are adequate but spare and the direction is simple, highlighting the committed cast’s engaging and enjoyable performances.

“Warts and All” is suitable for all ages, local, original, funny and affordable – what’s not to like?

 

 

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