‘Sense and Spontaneity’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

‘Sense and Spontaneity’ has been produced for FRINGEWORLD 2016 by the WA group, Ellandar Productions. This 1-hour show, which is suitable for all of the family, has had sell-out seasons at both the Fremantle Festival 2014 and the Fremantle Heritage Festival 2015.
These sensibly priced performances can be seen at 6.00 pm in the Dutch, all-wood ‘Shambles Tent’, situated opposite the Blue Room complex, above the car park entrance and next to the WA State Records Office in the Perth Cultural Centre, until Thursday 4th February.

Whether you are an avid reader, TV viewer, a cinema fan or a theatregoer, Jane Austen is a major drawcard. The audiences love to soak in the luscious costumes and the innocent lifestyle. By great demand, Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger bring you this delightful show for the third time. With every show in the past being sold out, there are bound to be a few disappointed punters this time too.

The show’s lighting and sound were smoothly operated by Mistress Amanda Ash.

The two exuberant stars are both Western Australian Theatresports™ champions, a much coveted title requiring a special skill and style of acting. Completely unscripted, this talented couple improvise many well-known scenes from the works of Austen.

To the music ‘The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba’, Mistresses Esther Longhurst and Jessica Messenger made their entrance to rapturous applause. After asking the audience a few questions about Jane Austen, a young lady was selected from the audience and asked about a love affair she has had – not to probing. The actors tucked the facts away in their minds for use later.
Using a basic, typical structure or story thread of an Austen book, the story was told. The actors cleverly built up the characters and the story achieved a rich depth as the show progressed. This was spontaneity at its best. With numerous bonnets and hats the nineteenth century story unfolded. Whacky props were used in this fast moving show. There were even a couple of real tears from Miss ‘Felicity’ Longhurst when her love (a special appearance last night of Mr Spontaneity, Glen Hall) left her for other shores.

It was obvious that the actors had an excellent knowledge of the Austen books, the numerous abandonments, grave diseases and the lavish dinners and balls. The double-entendres and puns were numerous. They covered all the moods, from passion to humour – and there were plenty of belly laughs. Great entertainment from a talented team.