The glorious triumvirate that is Everyman is back with their first-ever double bill. Both comedies, one wild and frivoulous, one black of soul and heart.
Wisely, they kick off with the frivolous fun of Woody Allen's "God" - a wild comedy about theatre, creativity, fate and the baser instincts of lust. Jarrad West in the central role of the actor "Diabetes" lets forth with all manner of clowning and foolery in a somewhat skimpy tunic, and he's backed up with solid hilarity from the rest of the cast - Duncan Ley unleashes his portentous serious-actor-tones for goofing, Euan Bowen provides a variety of different silly accents in a variety of different silly roles, and ... well, it's difficult to review everybody without spoiling who does what, but let's just say, you will giggle and guffaw and have a fun time. Duncan Driver's direction allows the piece to remain (mostly) under firm control and accelerating towards the dramatic/comedic conclusion (including a masterclass in that difficult art, Very Bad Acting). Wayne Shepherd's simple Grecian-column set nicely complements the fun.
After interval, it's the darker comedy of "Pool/No Water" by In-Yer-Face-Theatre veteran Mark Ravenhill. The only other production of Ravenhill I can think of in Canberra is Elbow's "Shopping and F**cking" back in the late 90s/early 2000s, and this is, in its way, equally confronting theatre. A tight quartet of actors (Amy Dunham, Zac Raffan, Steph Roberts and Jarrad West) provide nonstop energy, supreme physical acting, precise vocal control and attention in a one-hour tale of ambition, jealousy and conspicuous bad behaviour. The beautiful simplicity of the staging (backed by a more-than-usually fantastic lighting design) keeps the focus, as it should be, on the actors and the text. This is not going to be a show everybody takes to their heart (the doings are very very dark indeed and it's pretty confrontational stuff), but I doubt that I'll see better ensemble acting this year anywhere.
Yes, Everyman get a lot of good reviews. They richly deserve all of them. This is an A Grade company presenting A Grade Theatre. Don't miss it.