Light & Dark First Night Review

LIGHT & DARK – BRILLIANT!

A small but discerning audience showed their appreciation for the fabulous theatre presented by Village Hall Players (VHP) on opening night of its latest production, Light & Dark.

Co-producer and director Lynette Zito’s seemingly random selection of three plays – an Australian drama and two comedies, one American and one British – reveals an underlying theme of how relationships are enhanced, destroyed or continue in repetitive destructive patterns through language in this eclectic mix.

In He Said and She Said, by American playwright Alice Gerstenberg, the longstanding friendship of Felix (Paul Worsnop) and Enid Haldeman (Odette Nettleton) with Diana Chesbrough (Bree Johnston) is under threat from the gossip of Mrs Packard (Meg Ainsworth).  Ainsworth was the standout in a very talented cast, although the performers’ talents were nearly surpassed by the splendid set by Ian “Eden” Lister.

Enid (Odette Nettleton), Diana (Bree Johnston) and Mrs Packard (Meg Ainsworth) - Opening Night
Enid (Odette Nettleton), Diana (Bree Johnston) and Mrs Packard (Meg Ainsworth) – Opening Night

Two in a Room deals with two people who, unable to meet each other’s needs, continue in a pattern of self-loathing and fear on one side and control and cruelty on the other.  Gordon Hook portrays the Man’s awkwardness, childishness and brutality with great depth, making this quite unlikeable character at least sympathetic, in this quirky drama by John Summons.  Opposite Hook as the Woman is Erin Reeves, a newcomer to VHP.  The way Reeves subtly reveals the nature of her character – controlling, cruel and off-hand – is fabulous.    

Erin Reeves and Gordon Hook in "Two in a Room" - Opening Night
Erin Reeves and Gordon Hook in “Two in a Room” – Opening Night

The last of the plays is Call Girls, by British playwright David Muncaster, light fare to end the evening.  The four women, Mary (Meg Ainsworth), Jo (Erin Reeves), Tracy (Bree Johnston) and Laura (Elizabeth Thomas) work in an IT call centre. Laura has raised the ire of her three older co-workers with her low cut tops, short skirts and her unwillingness to be one of the team. They speculate on the relationship between Laura and Gary (Paul Worsnop), the boss.  The chemistry between Johnston and Thomas in their characters’ cat fight scene is worth the price of the ticket.

Meg Ainsworth, Erin Reeves, Bree Johnston and Elizabeth Thomas in "Call Girls" - Opening Night
Meg Ainsworth, Erin Reeves, Bree Johnston and Elizabeth Thomas in “Call Girls” – Opening Night

This is not to be missed theatre – funny, unusual, challenging and well worth the ticket price.