Tea Tree Players
Tea Tree Players Theatre
Until 02 Jun 2018

Review by John Wells

The stage is set for a classic farce – the curtain comes up and we see six doors (that’s right, six!), ready to open and close madly, there is a pretty girl in a negligee, and a man called Dick (giving almost endless double entendre opportunities). The plot unfolds with expected silliness as the protagonist has his life turned upside down with ever-escalating romantic and familial crises.

“The Continental Quilt” is an amiable and creditable production. This is good, solid amateur theatre, but the show lacks some finesse and polish.

Joan Greening’s script is comedically cumbersome and light on real gags. There are too many lazy jokes and lame double entendres: the text is simply not funny enough. For a narrative based on erotic couplings and thwarted desires, it is strangely sexless.

The cast communicates well and is clearly having a good time on stage. First-time director Lachlan Blackwell has done a good job (especially on debut), but a more heightened, breakneck tone would have made for a much funnier production. The best farce is performed with an unwavering, serious commitment to character; here, there is not quite enough zeal.

It is good to see younger members of the Tea Tree Players family moving up from their youth shows and taking roles in their main productions. There are some notable performances: Danni Fulcher is a frightening combination of Lady Bracknell and Amanda Vanstone, Rhi Shapcott is charmingly gauche, and Hannah Doyle is stridently seductive. Russell Byrne deserves a special mention, stepping into his role with only a few weeks’ notice.

There is a lovely sense of community engagement and genial enjoyment.