Competitive Tenderness - Review

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Posted 2023-04-30 by Jenny Esotsfollow

Fri 28 Apr 2023 - Sat 06 May 2023

Competitive Tenderness is a riot of a production currently being performed by the energetic Noarlunga Theatre Company at the Arts Centre in Port Noarlunga. The play is by Melbourne playwright Hannie Rayson and is ably directed by Harry Dewar. The stage is set in the municipal offices of Greater Burke where it seems the previous CEO has died and inconveniently left a huge hole in the budget to the tune of five million dollars. A new CEO is sought and in walks, the irrepressible but conniving Dawn Snow played with great verve by Dawn Ross in a very snazzy red jumpsuit.

The program is at pains to point out that this production is satirical, in case no one picks this up in these days of political correctness. The ensemble cast plays out like Ricky Gervais' office on steroids. Each quirky but inefficient staff member is taken along for the ride by the new CEO. The hapless Mayor Brian Guest played by the experienced Damien White is often centre stage and carries off his clueless escapades with aplomb. The hardworking cast includes Rebecca Gardner as receptionist Delia Johannsen who is well aware of the underhand dealings happening at the Council. A less threatening admin person is then drafted in with the arrival of Samara Gambling as secretary Amelia Stitch.

Other employees include the bumbling dog catcher Aled Proeve as Trevor Guest, and Will Dunn as a suitably gross but simple parking officer Piggy Katsos. Geoff Hastwell has several roles including as a traffic inspector who sells out his workmates to the highest bidder. In contrast to the chaotic council goings on, state politicians (Chris Dewar as Kimberly Farley, and Callum Drage as Rocco Ricotto) look sharp in corporate suits but are still easily won over by the increasingly desperate Dawn Snow.

The play's title refers to the competitive tendering process, which in this case is run roughshod over by Dawn Snow and smallgoods business owner Smilevski played with a withering snarl by John Broadly. Together they set up a cynical scheme to fleece the council of funds. Council member Merle Pickhaver played by Linda Edwards is out to expose any corruption and makes regular gruff appearances with her large bag in tow.

The director has managed to cast a fine blend of experienced and new actors in what is at times is very wordy production. There are frequent scene changes which can be a bit exhausting, but it seems laughs are the main game and the production certainly excels in devious satire. The stage itself seems cluttered on two levels but the actors work hard to set the chaotic mood. In Act 2 the momentum builds as the various cast members perform and dance below the stage at the audience's level. Dawn Snow CEO is an absolute scene stealer who becomes more and more unhinged, but you will just have to see the play to find out if she gets her ultimate comeuppance.

Competitive Tenderness is now playing:
Friday May 5 @ 7.30 pm
Saturday May 6 @ 1.00 pm
Saturday May 6 @ 7.30 pm
Arts Centre, Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga
Tickets available here

!date 28/04/2023 -- 06/05/2023
144934 - 2023-06-13 21:41:56


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