On Thursday night, 9 May 2019, we attended Galleon Theatre Group's opening night and SA premiere of American screenwriter-playwright Lawrence Roman's play Moving Mountains at Marion Cultural Centre's Domain Theatre. Galleon Theatre Group's adaptation of this lesser-known play is pure genius - with returning director Erik Strauts at the helm, this production is fun and flawless!
The phrase moving mountains/to move mountains is colloquially used to describe doing or achieving things that would normally seem difficult or impossible to do and is an apt title for this lesser-known play by American screenwriter-playwright Lawrence Roman. Director Erik Strauts explained he selected this play as in addition to its empowering message, Roman's humorous dialogue provided the cast with opportunities to further evolve the characters with hilarious results. This is evident in Andrew Clark's portrayal of affable retiree Charlie, who is heavily involved and passionate about daily activities and life at Ever Rest Retirement Village, located in coastal Santa Monica, Southern California.
Charlie's home at Ever Rest is a hive of constant activity - when he's not entertaining his lady friends, he is being harassed by his well-meaning daughter Elaine (Sharon Pitardi) who is initially largely unaware of Charlie's womanising ways, presenting a catalyst for an incredible journey where the characters continuously evolve for the better and yes, they really do move mountains!
Up until the arrival of new resident and widow Polly (Shelley Hampton), Charlie was footloose and fancy-free, inspiring and empowering others with his moving mountains philosophy. Among Charlie's database of liberal-minded lady friends are Gwen (Lindy LeCornu) and Harriet (Kathy Strauts). Act 1 opens with Gwen and Charlie having one of their rendezvous, only to be interrupted with an unplanned visit from Charlie's daughter Elaine - queue sauna room which soon becomes a frequently used hideout for an array of impromptu visitors to Charlie's home.
The arrival of reluctant new resident and widow Polly sets Charlie and Elaine's lives out of kilter as Polly is everything Charlie wants in a woman but his passion is unrequited. Further complicating things is Polly's son Robert (Josh van't Padje) and his relentless pursuit of the seemingly happily married but oft-neglected Elaine - Robert would do anything... anything for Elaine, including purchasing Polly's independent living unit for tax purposes but in reality, to see more of Elaine. Polly's birthday precipitates a new direction to the script, when Polly's 'nephew' Marc (Adrian Heness) arrives on the scene and has a heart-to-heart with Charlie, resulting in some pivotal mountains being moved.
The whole cast is truly impressive, fluently remaining in character, with convincing Californian accents. Kathy Strauts is delightful as the raucous and risque Harriet, perfectly executing hilarious one-liners and scenes! Elaine is a truly interesting and affluent character which Sharon Pitardi convincingly makes her own - dressed to perfection in designer clothes. Andrew Clark makes acting look easy - he is Charlie and the epitome of a charming, open-minded retiree all too eager to provide support, to help others move mountains.
Stage Manager/Set Designer Brittany's Daw's created a masterpiece of a set - check out the incredible artwork featuring famous composers Bach, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff (and Charlie)!
Behind the scenes, Stage Manager Brittany Daw has engineered a multi-dimensional set design with detailed contemporary scenery (as pictured above). No stone was left unturned in the design of Charlie's home which comes complete with a sauna room, bathroom, an open space where Charlie's bed, home office/computer workstation, dining area and electric massage recliner are located, a kitchen - a sliding door provides rear access and opens out into a picturesque, landscaped courtyard, the front entrance heralds visitors from a verandah and more greenery!
There is a true depth of character and detail in every aspect of this must-see production. For the purpose of covering costume and set changes, Director Erik Strauts adapted the script by introducing humorous and entertaining announcements by Charlie over Ever Rest's intercom. These announcements are a great transitioning tool, to convey Charlie's ups (Act 1) and downs (Act 2) through the tone of his voice and 'care factor'.
As with all Galleon Theatre Group productions, a raffle is drawn during the interval with some great prizes on offer from major sponsors Warradale Hotel and Patritti Wines (raffle tickets are 3 for $2 and all proceeds go to Galleon Theatre Group). Patritti Wines are also offering complimentary glasses of Patritti Wines sherry on arrival.
Moving Mountains will run at 8pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, from 9-18 May 2019, with a 2pm matinee session running on Saturday, 18 May 2019. Tickets are priced at $27/adult and $23/concession (pensioner and Seniors Card holders) and can be purchased online or by email, phone or in person via Domain Box Office. The Domain Theatre is wheelchair accessible and cabaret seating is available, presenting the perfect opportunity to make a group booking (share plates welcome - due to licensing restrictions, BYO alcohol is not permitted but Next Chapter Gourmet Café is on-site and open during performances, offering a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages at reasonable prices).
Why? Returning director Erik Strauts has skillfully guided multi-award winning Galleon Theatre Group to masterfully produce the SA premiere of 'Moving Mountains' - a contemporary play by American screenwriter-playwright Lawrence Roman
When:8pm Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 09/05/2019-18/05/2019 - a 2pm matinee session will run on 18/05/2019