Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Hope and Gravity presented by Galleon Theatre Group - Review

Home > Adelaide > Fun Things To Do | Performing Arts | Shows | Theatre
by Jon Cocks (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in the Adelaide Hills.
Event: -
South Australian Premiere production
Hope and Gravity
Nine lives intersect

You've heard of six degrees of separation, the notion that everyone in the world has connections with others in different places via a network of people who know other people. In Adelaide, we often joke that it is more like two degrees of separation, given the frequency with which we meet someone and find we have friends or acquaintances or even family in common.

Michael Hollinger's play Hope and Gravity, a South Australian premiere production directed by Kym Clayton for Galleon Theatre Company at Marion, compels us to embrace this notion with its non-sequential narrative based around nine character-based vignettes. It starts inside an elevator, where details of an elevator incident the night before are revealed, the narrative hook that connects the seemingly disparate scenes to each other.

Five actors play nine characters
Left to Right: Steve (Nathan Brown), Tanya/ Nan (Mari Nield), Peter/ Hal (Mark Drury), Jill/ Barb (Dora Stamos), Marty/ Douglas (John Koch)

Each scene is separate, whether in offices, homes, or hotel rooms, but each links a single element of one character's crossed paths with another. Given the unique tapestry of inter-connected lives on display, it is not a spoiler to sum it up by revealing that Jill longs for Steve, who's engaged to Barb, who hooks up with Peter, who's already having an affair with Nan, who's married to Marty. Meanwhile, Douglas, who teaches creative writing to Jill and Steve, meets Tanya who's hoping to get pregnant with Hal. The audience's challenge is to piece it together from the clues provided.

Director Clayton observes of the characters that 'their quest for life, love and happiness results in both comedy and tragedy, as hope raises them up and gravity pulls them down.' The elevator itself is a clever metaphor for life's ups and downs. The hard-working cast of five succeeded admirably in their drive to find the nuances in the writing that add depth to the timelessness of ambition and doubt, faithfulness and infidelity, and quirks and phobias.

Stamos handles the American accent best of the quintet, switching seamlessly between sanguine writing student Jill and the more edgy, upward-mobile-ambitious Barb. Her phobia moment near the start of Act Two is a high comedy to treasure. Brown carries his broke student-blocked writer persona most convincingly and his disappointment as an advertising 'sellout' is palpable. Drury's physical comedy is a highlight, even though the stretched vocal cords as Hal having doubts about in vitro with his wife Tanya, then Peter trying to seduce Barb.

Koch gives us a competent technical officer who loves his wife, not seeing that she is straying from her vows, but he is genuinely moving as the academic and poet battling dementia. Nield shows depth as the wife and would-be mother whose biological clock is ticking and her scene with Koch that closes out the play underscores the pathos of her character's lack of fulfilment. It is an eloquent comment on the irony of why there are so many profoundly good people who desire parenthood and are denied it through the random lottery of genetics and life.

Clayton's direction has assurance and style written into each scene, colour-coded as they are to a consistent design throughout, dominant and secondary colours, like purple for the Peter and Barb motel room seduction scene and red for the Hal and Tanya in vitro confrontation. Scene changes are brief and efficient and pace is maintained throughout.

The Marion Community Theatre is a pleasure to visit. The choice of conventional raked seating or cabaret-style close to the stage is an added feature, but as Shakespeare observed: 'the play is the thing'. Once again Galleon comes good with community theatre to an impressive standard. Hope and Gravity is an engaging roller coaster ride, with its denouement literally in its very last action. Go and see it.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  14
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? It is quality community theatre, ambitious and satisfying
When: Thursday 25th May 2023 7.30pm Friday 26th May 2023 7.30pm Saturday 27th May 2023 7.30pm Matinee Sunday 28th May 2023 2.00pm Thursday 1st June 2023 7.30pm Friday 2nd June 2023 7.30pm Saturday 3rd June 2023 7.30pm
Phone: 8375 6855.
Where: Marion Cultural Centre, Diagonal Road, Oaklands Park
Cost: $27/23
Your Comment
Top Events
Popular Articles