Galleon Theatre Group
Domain Theatre
Until 18 May 2019

Review by Paige Mulholland

“Moving Mountains” is a show that knows who its key demographic is and milks it. Telling a story of hijinks, romance and scandal in a Californian retirement village, “Moving Mountains” knows exactly what kind of characters, jokes and cultural references will fly with the blue rinse crowd, and, judging from the hearty laughs from the audience, they were right.

This farcical comedy follows Charlie, a 65-year-old retiree who acts as activities coordinator for his retirement village, activist for the over-60s, reluctant shoulder for his daughter to cry on, and Casanova of the complex – with a carefully maintained spreadsheet that allows him to keep track of his gaggle of Golden Girl visitors. His well-ordered, busy routine of dalliances and doorknock campaigns is disturbed by the arrival of Polly, a widow who captures his attention so completely that he’s ready to kiss the player life goodbye. That is, until he discovers that Polly has a much younger and more exciting beau in mind already. Peppered with on-point criticism of society’s fear of sexuality in seniors, this show has plenty to entertain the seniors in your life and open the minds of everyone else.

The show did feel drawn-out – although every scene felt necessary, they all could have been about 20 percent shorter and less repetitive – but had a good balance of cheekiness and decorum and kept the audience laughing. Andrew Clark led the strong ensemble with polish and pizzazz as Charlie, building up excellent chemistry with the rest of the cast. Other highlights included Sharon Pitardi as Charlie’s daughter Elaine and Shelley Hampton as the sweet-and-unassuming-turned-fiery Polly, but the whole cast performed to a very high standard. Aside from a few questionable accent moments, there’s not much to criticise from these actors – they were clearly well-rehearsed, working hard, and having fun doing it.

The set and costumes for the show were also excellent (and will give you a strong desire to buy pyjamas that match your bedspread). Charlie’s condo was outfitted with an outstanding attention to detail, from the paintings on the wall to the knickknacks scattered about the set. It seemed like somewhere someone much younger would live, which, of course, is exactly the kind of thing a lively ladies’ man would want. The only element that seemed out of place was the red and green spotted floor, that seemed less “mature, vibrant older man” and more “Dr Seuss”.

If you’ve ever wondered what “Friends” would be like if all the friends were in their 60s, it would probably be something like this. Be warned though, it will give you highly unrealistic expectations about having a private sauna in your retirement condo.