TBC Theatre's Mr Naismith's Secret is an original from the hands of writer H Clare Callow. Speaking to Ms Callow, who also plays a role in this tale of secrets and betrayal; she's always loved the residence that used to house a caretaker family till 1998. Getting an opportune peek into the historic Gate Lodge in 2015 during 'Open House' immediately sparked fireworks of ideas that has resulted in this play, performed in an unlikely space; The Melbourne Cemetery.
However, that is very TBC. Check their website to discover the unusual venues they're known for. My favourite has to be the Melbourne City Watch House, next to the old Melbourne Gaol, where Shadow of Angels was performed. I quickly put in my request to bring it back as it was amazing. Callow played a mesmerising male character so convincing in Shadows, I fell a little in love. The talented Jennie Dibly, also from Shadows, is back in Mr Naismith as Mrs Cutter the housekeeper. She'll take no nonsense from you! Do not be slovenly, or it's 'off with your head'.
It is requested that you wear flat shoes for your safety, and my suggestion to you would be to adhere to it because you'll also need to be comfortable. You'll be on your feet throughout this approximately 70 minute play, and moving 'upstairs and downstairs' following characters around, trying to learn their secrets. You'll also be requested to leave all personal belongings like handbags behind with TBC members, so as to not damage this heritage listed building by scuffing the walls.
A complimentary drink on arrival awaits at the gate and you can pick up a cast program for a gold coin donation. Get one, as it'll cover a bit of background to sink your teeth into, especially the fun story about the rehearsals.
Best part, at the end of the play, you get to mingle and chat to the actors which includes the writer, to fill you in on some of the burning questions you may have. You could also come back and see the play to follow characters you've not followed before.
I feel it's a good idea to bring a group of friends, so you can decide amongst yourselves whom you will be following, then perhaps swapping characters you're following, to be fair. I went with my plus one, and between the two of us, we were 'flat out like a lizard', following characters, learning secrets and more.
I was asked to be seated at the table of Mr Naismith's engagement dinner, so be prepared for the characters to look you straight in the eye and interact with you. These actors stay in character and do not blink as they communicate with you as if you were a part of the play. If ever you wanted to be a fly on a wall to family secrets, this is your moment.
If you're not used to this very different kind of theatre experience as opposed to traditional theatre, you may feel a little confused. What fun when you and your friends piece together your experiences which has been directed by actor, singer, writer and director Leighton Phair, who was a great fan of 'choose your own adventure' books. Each room a scene of the play, the actors will hold you in their web of intrigue, as you move amongst them. All sounds and scents in each room has been carefully constructed to add to the feel and essence of the story and its era. Come along and enjoy this refreshing burst of interactive theatre that's only running till 13 November 2016. Get caught up in the flurry of interaction and choose your own experience.
CLICK HERE for tickets or call 0410 147 988. Containing adult themes, it's not suitable for the under 16. Subscribe to TBC and you'll never miss out on their next exciting adventure. They're the theatre company to watch! Meanwhile, you're invited to Mr Naismith's engagement party.