Tea Tree Players
Tea Tree Players Theatre
Until 20 Oct 2018

Review by Chris Eaton

To the unfamiliar a farce seems simple but in fact it is a theatrical high-wire act and to witness one fail or fall (to continue the metaphor) is an experience slightly more preferable to dental work without anesthesia. Thankfully, this production of “Tom, Dick and Harry” written by Ray and Michael Cooney is a great and well deserved success.

Director Barry Hill has drawn strong, committed performances from his entire cast, measured and clearly well-rehearsed to execute the difficulties of the script to the roaring delight of last night’s opening night audience. The physical business performed by the cast (in particular by Tom played by Adrian Heness) was wonderful, particularly given the confines of the Tea Tree Players theatre stage and the fine set; designed by Hill and built by Samuel Creighton who also plays Harry.

The play opens with married couple Tom (Heness) and Linda (Selena Carr) awaiting the arrival of Mrs Potter (Chris Galipo) who will determine their suitability as adoptive parents. Blended into this premise is Dick (Kieran Drost), Tom’s brother (and their lodger in the upstairs apartment) who has smuggled from France, in Tom’s van: cartons of cigarettes, cases of brandy and two illegal immigrants Katerina (Anita Glocke) and Andreas (Mark Bone) who don’t speak a word of English. Piling it on is Tom’s other brother Harry (Creighton) a hospital porter who arrives with a dismembered cadaver to stash in Tom’s backyard. Tightening the screw further is the presence of Constable Downs played by Benjamin Forster, snooping around, certain that something is afoot. It’s typical farce fare thankfully devoid of ribaldry.

Heness, Drost and Creighton together and individually are excellent with Heness ably tying the show together. Carr as Linda draws empathy from the audience thanks to her commitment to the role. Glocke and Bone as the immigrants are great with the latter performing quite the contortion, folding himself into the mechanised couch. Mrs Potter played by Galipo is suitably officious and believable and Forster as Constable is very entertaining and genuine, assisting in maintaining the absurdity of the play’s later stages.

Despite the lack of alignment in accents, there are few weak points and you’ll scarcely notice anything amiss thanks to the breakneck pace the ensemble keep. If you can snag a ticket or two, you’re guaranteed of a good night out.