Printable CopyBORDERTOWN
South Australian Playwrights Theatre
St Aloysius College - Drama Theatre
Until 29 Feb 2020

Review by Doug Phillips

Since their debut production of “Frank Forbes and the Yahoo Boy” in 2018, South Australian Playwrights Theatre (SAPT) have proven to be a strong and passionate supporter of playwrights, directors, actors, and technical specialists in South Australian theatre. Their 2020 season of “Bordertown” is a fine continuation of this great work.

At first exposure, it’s easy to get the impression that “Bordertown” is a play about Bob Hawke. Spoiler: it’s not. Australia’s most loved larrikin Prime Minister does play an integral part of the plot, but alas, he doesn’t make an appearance. Instead we are treated to the performances of five talented actors who each take on their role with gusto and confidence.

And they should be confident. Everyone knows their lines and movements. Each has dug deep into their character. Samantha Riley’s direction, however, just didn’t feel as precise as it could’ve been. It’s very good, but at times it felt like there were missed opportunities for more aggression, or grief, etc.

Mat Hawkins’ script is interesting, and humorous at times, but some moments of comedy could’ve been delivered more precisely and achieved bigger laughs. The exceptions being Hawkins himself, who nailed the comedic delivery and timing, and Andrew Crupi as well.

Stephen Tongun is excellently cast as the American, Tyrone Jackson. His accent is spot on, and he plays the role of B-grade celebrity quite well. His portrayal of emotions was strong, but I think he has even more to give in this area.

Katie O’Reilly and Katherine Sortini both deliver solid performances as Mother and daughter respectively. Again, their emotional moments could have delivered more, but their portrayals had a great realistic quality to them.

The audience were engrossed throughout, and the chatter outside afterwards proves that “Bordertown” has been very well received. I very much look forward to SAPT’s next production.

Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)