Tea Tree Players
Tea Tree Players Theatre
Until 12 Oct 2019

Review by Doug Phillips

First up, I should declare that the audience loved this production. Their vigorous applause throughout, their excited conversation at interval and afterwards; all indicate that this show hit every mark with their opening night crowd.

I couldn’t see any audience member who wasn’t completely enchanted by what they saw.

Except me that is.

Perhaps it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I simply couldn’t get into it.

With the actors portraying live radio stars who are performing a show, I found it difficult to bond with the characters when they switched between playing radio stars to playing Hitchcock’s actual characters. I would have liked to have seen actors portraying radio stars who are portraying Hitchcock’s characters, but instead it switched between actors portraying radio stars or actors playing Hitchcock’s characters.

More could have been done with the characters when they weren’t reading into the microphones also. Perhaps there was a missed opportunity there for the cast to perform a more interesting portrayal of what happens at a live radio play read. Sure, no-one wants to upstage whoever is supposed to be the focus of the scene, but at times it was boring to see actors reading into microphones while cast mates sat back looking bored.

The reading off scripts was hard to embrace also. As radio stars, reading off the script is part of the scene, however some cast members knew their lines exceptionally well, which made those who didn’t really stand out. Everyone knowing their lines and having dummy lines on their pages may have forced everyone to know their lines to the same competency, improving the overall look and feel.

With all that said, every cast member’s performance was strong and solid. If I had to pick a stand-out performer it would be Kieran Drost. In his spotlight moments, his absorption into his character was complete and believable.

The creative on-stage sound effects were fun, although they could have featured more. Possibly a few missed moments here to inject some more humour. No costume criticisms though. The costumes were perfect.

Axiomatically for the Tea Tree Players, the set was brilliant and as was the cast’s use of it as well as the entire theatre. The direction by Selena Carr was also precise, but just lacking some extra energy.

Lovers of Hitchcock will be divided by this show. But, as previously mentioned it was a great hit with everyone in the audience, except one.