It Runs in the Family
Review by Shanna Provost
Canberra Rep finishes its 2009 season with a great belly laugh! It Runs in the Family, playing until 12 December at Theatre 3 is hilarious.
British Playwright Ray Cooney is the Master of farce. He manages to weave so much complication (brought about by the insatiable lying of his main character) through this comedy that it can’t help but be chaotic. It appears he also is the Master of the double entendre, British bawdiness and frustrating crossed wires. So much so that at one point an audience member threw his hands up in despair (while shaking with laughter).
Directed by Walter Learning (Steel Magnolias, Summer and Smoke, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for Rep), has enlisted a strong cast to help him pull off this whimsical piece. And farce requires strong characters to be effective.
Peter Holland always plays the English gent well, and as the once lascivious and constantly scheming Dr David Mortimore he gets to hone his skills here.
The entire cast is strong, but the standout is Tony Falla who has the dream role as the fall guy to Mortimore’s selfish manipulator. His comic timing, energy and willingness to take risks make this play a delight to watch.
Young actor Josh Hogan does very well in his theatre debut as the troubled teen Leslie Tate, and the more experienced Brandon Martignago plays the cross-dressing Dr Mike Connelly with gusto.
Although a relatively small role this time round, Ian Croker plays an excellent lisping Sir Willoughby Drake and Ian Hart is hilarious as an elderly patient with touches of Spike Milligan in his demeanour.
The female actors fare well, with Steph Roberts shining in her role as the acidic Rosemary Mortimore. Veteran actor Marie Jensen plays Nana so well you just want to give her a hug!
The set is well thought out and designed to support the bustling action: hospital gurneys and wheelchairs are trotted in and out at lightning speed; the windows become a key element and the curtains are put to very good use.
All in all, a jolly good romp that is fast paced, packed with giggles and the occasional side splitter that is well worth seeing for a bit of Xmas fun.
WHAT: It Runs in the Family
WHERE: Theatre 3, Ellery Crescent Acton
WHEN: 19 November-12 December
BOOKINGS: www.canberrarep.org.au or 02 6257 1950