‘Bombshells’ is a series of six great sixteen-minute stories in monologue form by Australian playwright, Joanna Murray-Smith. Occasionally, a production will have all of the very different characters played by one female actor; indeed a series of four cameos was written in 2001, then increased to six plays at the request of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s artistic director Simon Phillips, specifically for Caroline O’Connor to perform as a one person show.
In this presentation, there are six performers playing the group of friends – or arch enemies – over a couple of decades.
Joanna Murray-Smith has 18 punchy and mind-invoking plays under her belt, all of which are staged regularly.
The vignettes represent each age group and their challenges in life. Each playlet exposes the women, revealing their outer façade and often opposing inner feelings with humour and fraught scheming. The characters range from a gutsy teenager to a middle-aged distraught widow.
This magnificent two-hour community theatre presentation by ARENAarts can be seen at the Roxy Lane Theatre, behind 55 Ninth Avenue in Roxy Lane, Maylands at 8.00 pm. On each Friday, and Saturday evening until 19th September. There are matinees on Sunday 6th and 13th at 2.00 pm.
The auditorium has been painted a deep blue and now looks like a ‘real’ theatre rather than a school hall. For this show there was a central aisle through the seating.
Bookings are from www.TAZtix.com.au or phone 9255-3336. Unfortunately, the required seating spacing means there are only about 3 dozen seats available for each show, so please book early for this top rate show.
The Scene: A small town in Australia
The Set: Each scene has similar set and props; there are two chairs, a cupboard / fridge, a bench seat / bed and a coat stand that acts as a clever link from one scene to the next. Clare Talbot has a series of well-chosen photographs projected onto the white cupboard doors; this gave extra depth to each scene.
Lighting: designed by Don Allan and Simon James. A couple of LED spot lamps (thanks to Bendigo Bank) have been added, allowing the time of the day to be shown. The skilful use of a follow spot added greatly to the reality of the final act. Good light teching by Simon McKenzie.
Sound: Plenty of cues in this show and with everyone spot on, well done Fleur Pereira.
Floor management by Sage Lockyer was quick and efficient. Often as short as 10 seconds, superb.
Although these characters are quite separate, each story is ingeniously interlinked with the rest. Perhaps you might enjoy seeing the show again and getting the full quality of the writing. If you haven’t already enjoyed Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’ – a similar theatrical piece – then give yourself a treat.
Meryl Louise Davenport (Jess Lally) is a thirty-something mother who addresses the audience as she goes through her dreary daily routine. Aiming to be ‘the perfect mother’ to her new-born baby, she gets increasingly frantic as she struggles to deal with her failures.
This wonderfully structured monologue is filled with energy, whilst sad and yet amazingly funny.
Winsome Webster (Lucy Eyre) is an isolated aging widow who has only tedium, before her new-found youth, when she volunteers as a reader for a young blind student.
Mary O’Donnell (Elise Wilson) is a teenage schoolgirl about perform a song called ‘O’Shaunnesy, the Mystery Cat’. When the performer immediately before Mary gives the same recitation routine, Mary must quickly improvise with a daring upbeat version to conquer the dilemma and her dreaded opposition.
Theresa McTerry (Adrienne Coombes) is a desperate and frustrated bride; now boisterous and triumphant she prepares for her wedding. Even as she walks down the aisle her despondency is still evident. Her feelings and insecurity become increasingly obvious as the ceremony progresses. There is only one thing that matters at a wedding.
Tiggy Entwhistle (Kerri-Anne Mully) is a middle-aged divorcee with her love of cacti ups the hostility. Seething, she explains to the audience as to what the cactus really represents in her lonely life. In this tense scene, one wonders how Tiggy would have behaved if she were Meryl.
Zoe Struthers (Claudia Van Zeller) a tragic, aging famous singer on another ‘final’ tour. Like a real-life singer and daughter, Zoe reveals in song the many disasters of her life; and yet this is hysterical as Zoe portrays the many troubles of a host of well-known stars of stage and screen.
A fabulous night’s entertainment. The insightful script was totally grasped by every performer as they displayed these very ordinary women, struggling to cope with their lives.
Director, Christine Ellis and her close assistant Clare Talbot have selected a stunning cast. With monologues a good performer is often hard to find, here the ladies have found SIX brilliant actors. They were all word perfect, filled with confidence and just glowed from the opening curtain. The body language, expressions and minor mannerisms were all there.
This is a first-class show, very many congratulations.