Review: Daylight Saving at the Belconnen Theatre

“Daylight Saving” by Nick Enright Director: Michael Weston Set Design: Bill Kolentsis and Michael Weston Tempo Theatre Belconnen Theatre until May 24th Reviewed by Bill Stephens

daylight saving

The selection of Nick Enright’s delightful romp, “Daylight Saving”, is a great choice for Tempo Theatre to celebrate their fortieth year of presenting community theatre in Canberra.

Written by Enright in 1989, “Daylight Saving” offers six meaty roles, with situations which remain funny and believable. The plot revolves around a successful restaurateur, Felicity, (Rina Onorato), who’s getting bored with her marriage to her busy jet-setting sports-manager husband, Tom (Bill Kolentsis). While Tom is on one of his many overseas trips Felicity is contacted by Joshua (Jason Morton), an old flame from her exchange student days in the USA. Left alone on her wedding anniversary, Felicity decides to set up a romantic candle-lit dinner with Joshua, to relive old times, and just maybe, rekindle something of their old romance.

Predictably and hilariously, her plans go awry when her preparations for the lobster dinner are constantly interrupted by phone calls from her restaurant, where her maître d’ is engaged in a pitched battle with the cook. Her inquisitive, over-bearing mother, Bunty (Joan White), arrives unexpectedly, about the same time as her distraught, thoughtless neighbour Stephanie (Nicky Lyn Hunter), promptly invites herself to the dinner.

On opening night, first night nerves robbed the first act of the necessary pace and precision.

Rina Onorato and Bill Kolentsis, as Felicity and Tom, struggled to establish some rhythm to their performances, and as a result, many of their best lines missed their laughs. However in the second act, once Tom’s self-absorbed protégé, champion tennis player, Jason (a nicely sustained and very funny performance from John Brennan) arrived on the scene, the pace picked up and the laughs came thick and fast.

All the action in the play takes place in the large family room of Felicity and Tom’s house in Pittwater, on the Northern beaches of Sydney. The nicely detailed set design with its water views, ceiling possums, comfortable furniture and period technology, reflected this well.

Jordan Renneberg’s well-managed sound effects and lighting design also contributed to the success of this entertaining example of Tempo Theatre’s welcome and sustained contribution to Canberra’s theatrical milieu.

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