TTT is forging ahead with 3 full-length plays and a one-act play season. This is a terrific mix of drama, comedy and pathos and also an opportunity for the Surf Coast to invest in skilled theatre directed, produced and performed by local talent.
Tartuffe was written in 1664 and, like Shakespeare, lends itself to being set in other circumstances. In this version Tartuffe is a Snake Oil Salesman who joins the King's circus, owned and run by Orgon, a wealthy servant of the King. Orgon and his mother believe everything Tartuffe says, until he is exposed.
26 October to 4 November 2023
|Assist. Stage Managers|
- Godzonia by Georgie Oulton. Directed by Zina Carman
- The last panto in Little Grimley by David Tristam. Directed by Sindi Renea.A struggling amateur theatre society organises a modified pantomime to save itself from financial disaster. All the characteristics of a panto are on show. Audience participation is optional.
These two plays are very different, one a contemporary look at how lockdown affected us and the second a light-hearted romp to delight the spirit. A unique night of theatre.
August 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 2023
Godzonia Cast: Elva Dandelion, Claire O’Brien, Vanessa Crouch, Andrew Gaylard, Ritesh Chhetri, Tom Vlamis, Todd Curtis
Last Panto cast: Cast: Janelle Polwarth, Rose Carollo, Terry Roseburgh, Ben Batterbury
|Catherine Whitehead||Stage Manager|
|Anne Staig||Assist. Stage Managers|
|Teresa Stipcevich||Set dressing and horse's head|
|Fred Preston||Lighting Operator|
|Alan Hossack (Jock)||Sound Design/Operator|
|Andrea Harvey||FOH Manager|
Read Colin Mockett's review here
Season 2 - The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh.
Directed by Glen Barton.
Valene and Coleman are two brothers who have lived together for years with constant petty squabbling. After their father’s death the local priest hopes a new understanding could develop. Could, that is, if the brothers could stop arguing about crisps, ornaments, who left the top off the pen and whose turn it is to read a magazine.
Two One Act Plays directed by Sindi Renea and Zina Carman for Torquay Theatre Troupe, Shoestring Theatre, Torquay, August 3, 2023.
Producer Gay Bell pointed out her programme notes that behind Torquay Theatre Troupe’s reputation for carefully staged high comedy and contemporary drama, it had also a history of presenting one act plays stretching back 21 years.
This latest production brought together all of the above in two plays that were remarkable by their difference.
The first was a lightweight piece of theatrical nonsense, the second a tightly-drawn depiction of the effects of recent Covid lockdowns.
Both are products of the rich tradition of British small theatre, though the second had strong Australian elements.
First up was the comedy, Last Panto In Little Grimley, written by David Tristam and directed by Sindi Renea. It’s part of a highly popular UK theatrical series that features a small-town amateur theatre society for whom everything that can go wrong, does.
This time the company, facing a financial crisis, has decided to stage an ‘adult pantomime’ to raise funds. The show was to be written and directed by the company’s self-centred, acid-tongued organiser, Donna, played with relish by Torquay stalwart Terry Roseburgh. She bullies the tiny company into staging her play despite their reluctance. And a tiny company it was; comprising Janelle Polwarth’s dim and timid wannabe singer, Joyce, Ben Batterbury’s unwilling and disinclined stagehand Bernard and Margaret, a cynical but capable actor and peacemaker to whom most of the play’s disasters happen. She’s gloriously overplayed by Rose Carollo. In their, and director Sindi Renea’s hands, Last Panto In Little Grimley starts as farce, quickly turns to slapstick and then collapses into a surprisingly predictable ending.
But then, following a short interval, came Godzonia, written by Georgie Oulten and directed by Zina Carman.
This clever and thought-provoking work was set against the background of the Covid lockdowns and its affects on a variety of different people. This allowed the writer to include controversial themes from euthanasia to family violence; Tinder dating to modern miscommunications. It also allowed director Zina Carman to bring together and drill an excellent ensemble cast built around Joe, a terminally-ill resident of Godzonia, sensitively played by another company stalwart in Andrew Gaylard, with his much-loved granddaughter Kate, portrayed with quiet vulnerability by TTT newcomer Vanessa Crouch. Their mythical Godzonia is a small island close to Australia which, thanks to its isolation, remained free of Covid.
Kate, on her way there, found herself caught up in Australia’s harsh quarantine system and Joe, sensing she was in danger, was struggling to get her admitted to his safe haven.
The pair communicate through today’s fractured internet-based messaging services, a theatrical ploy that allowed playwright and director to expand and involve their central character’s circles of acquaintances. It brought in Kate’s brash fellow-traveller Elva Dandelion and her untrustworthy husband Todd Curtis. There was Joe’s sympathetic carer Claire O’Brien and fellow ‘Covid Hero’ the intense supermarket worker Tom Vlamis. And they all drew in Ritesh Chhetri’s involved stranger.
All these characters remained on-stage throughout, keeping the action moving fluidly by using black boxes as seats and scenery.
A beautifully simple device was to use mime to short-cut devices and props and this, combined with the ensemble’s acting skills and well-drilled choreography gave this Godzonia a gloss that matched its thoughtful – and thought-provoking subject matters.
Together, these two vastly contrasting plays should ensure that TTT’s annual one-act play tradition continues unabated.