The Stirling Players
Stirling Community Theatre
Until 28 Sep 2019

Review by Luke Wagner

A wedding and a funeral are two occasions that undeniably bring a family together. The issue is however that these occasions can often bring those uncomfortable and stressful feelings that come with a family reunion. This feeling was unfortunately present in the Stirling Players production of Celebration.

On the eve of her daughter Rose’s wedding, Rhoda struggles to pull together a reception on a tight budget with multiple members of her family popping in and out and helping in various ways. In the second act, the family are gathered once more, but this time in Rhoda’s living room following the funeral of a family member. Unfortunately, despite these two momentous occasions, there is not really much of a story arc within this show.

The production overall was dull and excessively long at just under two and a half hours. Most of these problems however are due to the script itself. There was a range of other issues through the show with basic stagecraft taking a hit. Characters all too often delivered dialogue with their back completely to the audience, characters masking the other characters who had dialogue and overly contrived movement when two characters came forward to have an aside conversation on multiple occasions. These issues were frustratingly distracting to watch.

The cast overall was hit and miss with some accents being rather patchy and others being quite hard to understand. Some of the cast who stood out were, Madeline Marin as the Aunt of the Bride, Penny Hamilton Smith as the acerbic mother in law Edna and Esther Michelsen as the grieving partner of the deceased in act two, May.

The set was a simple white set that served as the function room for the reception in act one, but became much more visually appealing in act two as Rhoda’s lounge room.

Unfortunately, this show just didn’t quite hit the mark. It lacked a sense of polish and the repetitive nature of the script worked against the case being able to keep pace. Perhaps this show could work better if modernised and reworked in future. Overall this was a long evening of theatre to experience the feeling of a family reunion with the relatives you haven’t seen since Christmas.