Holden Street Theatres
Until 12 Jul 2020

Review by Brian Godfrey

On the weekend I uttered a sentence that I didn’t think I’d say till early next year (possibly near the end of this year): I’m about to go and see some ‘live’ theatre (the real thing without the aid of a Zoom session). How, in these strange new times, was this possible, I hear you ask. All thanks to the wings2fly theatre company and Holden Street Theatres. Both of whom should be congratulated on the handling of the COVID-19 safety regulations and ensuring the health and safety of all.

wings2fly is a children/youth company founded in 2017 by theatre professionals Michelle Nightingale and Alicia Zorkovic. Whilst there are a few youth companies around Adelaide, this is the only one that really caters to non-musical theatre performers. The company appears every school holidays rehearsing for a week and then putting the performance on for the weekend. Dedication is required from all (even the mums and dads) and is supplied in bucket loads.

This school holiday performance saw the Juniors (ages 9-12) perform Tyler Dwiggins’ “Orange is the new Glass” as directed by Zorkovic. The play imagines what might happen to our favourite fairytales if they were put into the ‘real’ world and had to deal with television and social media: Goldilocks gets arrested for breaking and entering the innocent Bear household; Cinderella has OCD when it comes to cleaning; Prince Charming must go on a “The Batchelor” like show to find his true Princess; and Rapunzel should probably be renamed RAPunzel (you get the gist).

This is a fun script and Zorkovic blocks it well (there’s even a nice little salute to Social Distancing at one point) and makes sure that her young actors bring out the comedy, enjoy it and, more importantly, make sure that the audience have a great time (which we did). All of the cast (Amelia Trott, Billy Rowan, Charlie Zorkovic, Chloe Rice, Emily Braun, Evie Harris, Gracie Manifold, Imogen Starr, Josh Elford, Lucy Braun, Marsha Zabanias, Olivia Whitbread, Saachi Thakur, Sophie March and Zayla Rice) do well and enunciate nicely, with only the occasional nervous gabbling from a couple. Special mention should be given, however, to Marsha Zabanias for producing a nice ‘old lady’ voice and little 9 year old ‘cutie’ Saachi Thakur for her hilarious and well observed portrayal of Officer Tortoise – this pint-sized pocketful of talent in a half-shell was an absolute joy.

Don Zolidis’ extremely funny (especially to mums, dads and grandparents who were around in the 80s) “That’s Not How I Remember It” was the Seniors’ (age 13-17) play, as directed by Michelle Nightingale. This story of how a married couple remember their getting together from completely different perspectives was an absolute gem in every aspect of production. Nightingale made sure the cast brought every aspect of the deliberately ‘over-the-top’ humour to the fore; with Manda Flett matching the ‘over-the-top’ness with her outrageously accurate 80s costumes.

Though the cast weren’t even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes in the 80s, they captured that strangely styled period wonderfully. Among a fairly strong cast, there were some standouts; Ashlee Scott (complete with Kelly McGillis’ “Top Gun” hairstyle) played Young Lola very convincingly; Byron Jeffery cleverly playing Young Barry two ways (depending on who was telling the story) hilariously channelled Kevin Bacon (all six degrees of him) as the school Sex God Barry, but was equally funny and at ease as the more innocent, glasses wearing, knitted vested Young Barry; and Flynn Doyle bringing the house down with his Swedish (occasionally wandering into French territory) and ‘Nuw Zuland’ accents as Yann and Yann 2.

wings2fly started well as fledglings in 2017 but have grown and are pretty close to soaring in 2020. Well done also as the company to bring ‘live’ theatre back on stage where it belongs.