In Sight of the Sea

‘In Sight of the Sea’ is a comedy drama, beautifully written and cleverly structured by Lis Hoffmann and Phil Jeng Kane. Both playwrights have decades of experience in writing and directing short films, documentaries, and children’s television. Lis has been runner-up for ‘Best Actress’ and has won a ‘Best Script’ award. This play by Lis and Phil must be a major contender for this year’s best script. The richness of the characters, the way they interact, the twists and surprises throughout will hold your attention.

At first glance it is life in a typical student apartment but afterwards it becomes clear how cleverly the ground has been laid from the first sentence. Astute work.

Presented by The Harbour Theatre Company, this play is being performed in the Camelot Theatre, 16 Lochee Street, in Mosman Park. This is an 85-minute fast moving one-act play and so has no interval. The performances begin at 7.30 on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings until the 30th July. There are Sunday matinées at 2.00 pm on the 24th and 31st of July.

Language warning: This play is about a group of friends in their early twenties, and so the dialogue is being true to life – confirmed for me by several student friends.

The Scene:           2021. An upmarket apartment facing onto the ocean in Cottesloe.

The Set:                It is a newly built apartment, at the end of decorating. The flat front door is on the left. An archway is centre of the rear wall. The dust sheets are still on the floor. A tweed covered bed settee is to the left of the stage and a simple bar counter is across the room. Power cables hang from the wall where lamp fittings will be fitted.
The stage apron is used for the beach and a smart restaurant.

Set Builders:       This solid smart set was built by Brian Mahoney, Phil Redding, Julie Mackay, Matt Cuccovia, Tina Barker, Rob Tagliaferri, Callum Hunter, Meredith Hunter, and Jarrod Buttery.

Properties:          Tina Barker, Sierra Joan, and cast. Must be the first show to have fishfinger prop.

Lighting Designers and Operators:            As the walls and paintwork are white, the lighting played an important part in creating the mood. Jasmine Lifford and Rob Tagliaferri had a warm glow for the room until, by a push of a remote button, the flat’s sliding roof was heard to open, and the light turned to a cool sky blue.

Sound Designer and Operator:    Vanessa Gudgeon has created some original sounds such as the aforementioned sliding roof, traffic noises and domestic disasters.

Production Manager:     Ryan S McNally and Jarrod Buttery

Stage Manager:                Sierra Joan fast and efficient.

Costume Designer:           Nicole Miller

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Pedantic, tense, nit-picking and unadventurous Tobey (Joe Haworth) has moved into an upmarket apartment in Cottesloe. His easy going, best friend from school, Adam (Henry Freeman-Dick) who recently had a bad car accident is moving in.

The landlady, Juanita (Frederica Longo) calls around.

Despite Bree (Clovelly Rule) being Tobey’s long-time object of desire, he is yet to even hold her hand! Adam’s ex-girlfriend, Sam (Elise Douwes) is a delightful but lost soul. She arrives at their flat, homeless, stressed and desperate.   

How will this strange blend of personalities get on together? Like the ocean across the road, there will be waves, beauty and horror.

Damien is played by Altus Vernooy.

Director Lis Hoffmann has depicted typical life in a student’s flat. On the surface life is simple and plodding along, but with Lis’s cleverly layered script and the depth of the characters, we are slowly fed little nibbles of information and their complex lives are revealed. This play is mainly a comedy with many of us possibly recalling our youth, but there are also tragic moments and moving passages.

In addition to the stage, Lis has employed the auditorium and both sides of the stage apron; this helped to involve the audience with the action.
The cast were outstanding with every member giving us a full exposé of their character’s complicated life, not just with the superb dialogue but with every movement of their bodies.

Some older audience members may have trouble with the in-your-face contemporary language, but there is no doubt that this a quality Australian play.