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Humble Boy - Adelaide Repertory Theatre - Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
Event: -
With astonishing themes such as betrayal, love and revenge
Christopher Leech, Celine O'Leary and Nick Endenburg - Photographer: Norm Caddick

Inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Charlotte Jones' play, Humble Boy is a modern-day play with lots of literary and scientific references to quantum mechanics and sub-plots relating to bee-keeping. Despite all the talk about theoretical physics, horticulture, black holes and bees, it is an entertaining story about the various aspects of love and family relationships in a dysfunctional family.

Nick Endenburg - Felix Humble
Celine O'Leary - Flora Humble
Christopher Leech - George Pye
Rhonda Grill - Mercy Lott
Phoebe Wilson - Rosie Pye
Brian Knott - Jim the gardener

Set in the 1990s, the hero, Felix Humble (Nick Endenburg), a modern-day Hamlet returns to his Cotswold home from Cambridge. He was stricken by the sudden death of his father, James Humble, and the unexpected news his mother, Flora Humble (Celine O'Leary), had gotten rid of all her husband's belongings, including his treasured bees. The reunion of mother and son sparks old animosities, which are further heightened with Flora being furious with Felix for embarrassing her at James' funeral by running away and failing to deliver the eulogy.

Nick Endenburg and Brian Knott - Photographer: Norm Caddick

This leads to the hilarious unravelling of a multitude of family secrets, where confrontation occurs and the characters' relationships are enlightened and entwined as further complications arise with these fascinating, yet deeply flawed characters. I could elaborate further but that would spoil the surprising twists and surprises in the playful story Charlotte Jones has created.

There was a brief sense before the interval, that the play was over-written a little as Jim the gardener expounded on botanical names, but all is forgiven as the twists in the story unfold and the characters say and do things that will surprise and excite an audience right up to the play's final moments. The entire cast does a marvellous job. The jokes are clever, plentiful and funny, with some clever turns.

Christopher Leech and Celine O'Leary - Photographer: Norm Caddick

An excellent job was achieved by the technical team in their creation of the set being the delightful English country garden with a giant beehive in the centre with overhanging branches with apples, that dropped on cue, and a glass conservatory from which the characters enter into the garden. There is a table and chairs and an area with gardening tools and plants. As we entered the theatre seating, we could hear the sound of birds chirping, creating the atmosphere of being outside in a garden. It certainly helped set the mood.

Phoebe Wilson and Nick Endenburg - Photographer: Norm Caddick

Glenn Miller music In the Mood and Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else, But Me) was played. Jim the Gardener is often heard humming a tune and George Pye made a humorous entrance to the tune In the Mood. All creating and adding a sense of fun to the production.

Some strong language and sexual references

Nick Endenburg and Rhonda Grill - Photographer: Norm Caddick

A bitter-sweet comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of beekeeping...
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Why? Enjoy overtones of Hamlet with a wildly grasp with the story of the universe, family, broken relationship and regular visits from a ghostly apparition.
When: 18 - 20 & 24 - 27 November, 2021
Phone: 8212 5777
Where: The Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide. S.A.
Cost: Adult: $25 / Concession: $22 (book online) Adult: $28 / Concession: $24 (book through box office)
Your Comment
Good play and a great review Haydn Radford
by jilly (score: 0|4) 11 days ago
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