I'm a freelance writer living in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. I'm a lover of theatre, soccer and making the most of life.
A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet
With many plays that are produced and performed across Melbourne we are familiar with the play before we see it. My mother lived by the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover," and while, ideally, I would often choose to live by this rule I almost missed the best night of theatre I have had in a long while, because I didn't want to give this play a chance.
Chaim Stotsky is a Jewish man living in Brooklyn. The story unfolds and presents a beautiful encounter between two people who were strangers in a park but became friends. Through their friendship we take a journey through Chaim's life, encountering good times and bad times and discover and explore his relationship with many people including his wife, children and his best friend.
From a personal point of view Chaim's Love Song is theatre at its best – the characters are genuine and, unlike many plays you see, it felt as if you were there on that park bench at Jefferson Park in Brooklyn watching Kelly and Chaim become friends. I laughed, I cried, then laughed some more. The two scenes at the end between Chaim and his wife and between Kelly and Chaim's best friend were so beautiful they made my heart ache.
Keith Hutton takes on the role of Chaim and it's a far cry from when I last saw him as Steptoe in the 1812 rendition of Steptoe and Son. Keith's accent was so believable it was strange talking to him after in the foyer as I was expecting it to be his normal voice. I even found myself saying Oi for hours after leaving the theatre. Not to be outdone, his two female counterparts portrayed their characters with elegance, poise and vulnerability.
In fact all of the actors were brilliant. A great cast has been assembled by Geoff Hickey, the director, and I learned afterwards that Helen Ellis, who played a few roles within the play, stepped in two weeks before opening, something you would not have noticed as she executed all roles like a true professional.
Live theatre remains an all-too-rare treat and there is nothing like it. This is the best two hours I've spent in a very long while and will remember & talk about it for a long time afterwards. From the welcome sherry or juice and water for the drivers to the champagne and nibbles after it's a great night out. But hurry, because this show closes on Saturday 9th June. Well done 1812 and the cast and crew of Chaim's Love Song. Your play really spoke to me.
And here's a tip for theatre goers: at intermission definitely try the salted caramel choc tops!