Accidental Productions
Bakehouse Theatre
Until 15 Oct 2016

Review by Jamie Wright

Theo – short for Theodora – Sprout is troubled. Mostly by her home life with her wacky parents: father Jasper, a former musician desperately seek a return to the spotlight via whichever spiritual destination or self-help guru will help him attain it; and mother Babs, whose church-going conservatism is a stark contrast to her husband’s free-wheeling quest for self-actualisation and longing to relive the rock-and-roll lifestyle of their youth. She wants to move out of home and in with her boyfriend Wallace, but he’s more focused on his hobby as an internet troll and his burgeoning political career.

And then things get complicated.

Alex Vickery-Howe’s script is engaging and hilarious, even while the characters themselves are a little on the thin side, with their motivations more alluded to rather than shown. It appears to be set in the present, so it’s therefore vaguely distracting that Jasper, in his musical tastes and enlightenment goals seems to embody a mindset far more appropriate to someone who would have been his age in the 80s or 90s. We also start out with Theo’s narration, but that device never features again. But these are small diversions in an otherwise clever and funny story.

Director Joh Hartog and his cast – particularly Steph Clapp as Theo, Robbie Greenwell as Wallace – have done an excellent job in bringing Vickery-Howe’s great dialogue to life; it’s fast-paced but never rushed, and all whip out witty comebacks and zingers with perfect comic timing. Brendan Cooney (who also gets to show off his vocal skills) and Josephine Pugh are great as the quirky-yet-endearing parents, Maya Aleksandra (who also belts out a couple of numbers) has fun with the role of Anesidora, Mikayla Lynch and Nomakhosi Mpala are both snarky and supporting as Wallace’s friends Sasha and Figsby; and Alec S. Hall is wonderfully disingenuous as Chad.

Designers Kirsty Martinsen, Alison Stampke and Casey Van Sebille have gone for a simple concept to make life in the tiny Bakehouse manageable, allowing for quick changes; the cardboard cutout props help with the not-quite-real feel of the play. Lighting by Stephen Dean is subtle for the most part but steps up to make the more fantastical scenes more impactful.

While not necessarily one to prompt too many deep thoughts, “Out of the Ordinary” is still a lot of fun.