‘Mungbean’ is a new Australian drama comedy and a clever look at life, extremely well written by young WA playwright, Eloise ‘Eli’ Carter. This ‘Beyond the Yard Theatre Company’ production was first presented at the sensational ‘Brave New Works Festival’ season in the Denmark Civic Centre. Beyond the Yard is now proud to present this 70-minute play – for all ages – in conjunction with the Hayman Theatre, as a special development trial season of this original show. These shows are being presented as a trial for different ideas, as the writer and director are seeking genuine constructive suggestions to help with future performances.
The shows were performed to sell-out houses at the Hayman Theatre, located within Curtin University, on Sunday 18th November at 6.00 pm and 19th November at 7.00 pm. In 30 years of reviewing, I cannot remember such a genuine request for feedback and appreciating it; usually when someone asks for help and they are given it, they immediately become on the defence against the ideas offered.
The scene: a private, rural beach area, perhaps near Dunsborough (?)
The set: a brightly coloured, homemade shelter constructed from a large table umbrella. A couple of chairs and milk crates. Stage management by Becca Jackson.
The atmospheric lighting was by Maddy Mullins.
A shy, friendly, but obstinate 16 yrs. old girl, Mungbean (Astrid Dainton) is in the area visiting her sick Grandmother, who has been moved into sheltered accommodation. Wandering around the countryside, she finds a small encampment with a sign announcing it belongs to ‘Moose and April’. Moose (Philip Lynch) is an intelligent, but wild fun-loving, harmless lad about 17 years old, who has known April (Caitlin McFeat) a pleasant softhearted girl, since they went to primary school together. As Mungbean is exploring their camp, April returns and is most protective.
Mungbean introduces herself, and explains that she is new to the area and starting year ten. April relaxes, but when Moose returns she becomes immediately jealous and protective of him.
Can Mungbean become friends with this close couple? Alternatively, can there only be heartbreak?
Throughout most of the play, there was a sound effect, which may have been a beach with the tide lapping, with a very faint hint of music. On the other hand, could it be that the sound system was faulty and this was white noise on a faulty channel? Unfortunately, it was quite loud and distracting.
The costumes were selected by Belinda Rose, and ranged from school uniforms to a Cinderella cloak.
The fine script had a most natural dialogue, and a clever mix of poignant and hilarious episodes. The director, Terence Smith, showed great skill in guiding the three talented cast members. The pace was fast, the interaction excellent, a well-constructed and presented play.