I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Olives, pasta and family secrets
Limelight on Oxford's downstairs theatre is home to contemporary Australian play, The Poor Kitchen, for a short season presented by Patina Productions. Daniela Giorgi's play, which premiered in 2013 at the Old 505, is a kitchen sink drama set around a rustic table in an Italian farmhouse, brought to life by a beautiful set and vigorous performances.
The play is set on an olive farm in the Italian countryside, where the farm's owner has died. An Australian woman, Elle, has been left the farm by her aunt even though she's never met her and arrives reluctantly ready to engage a solicitor to sell the farm, much to the chagrin of everyone else who has an affinity to the property. As Elle comes to terms with this foreign land, she uncovers a dark family history with secrets that she must come to grips with.
The Poor Kitchen is directed by Julie Baz, whose production toes the line nicely between comedy and drama. Baz's skills in storytelling are evident, particularly when the play pivots between flashbacks of the past and the present day. David Jeffrey's simple and effective design immediately conjures up a rustic farmhouse kitchen, though I would've loved to have seen a bit moreIof the pasta i was promised in the promo!
Amy Victoria Brooks leads the cast as Elle, the foreigner who inherits a farm she's never heard of. Her performance is solid, but at times her emotional life feels forced, rather than organic - particularly in such an intimate space. Taylor Buoro is a delightful, bubbly Anna, capturing her character's zest for life and food perfectly. David Jeffrey as the solicitor feels a little detached from the characters around him and perhaps a little too over the top for the hyper realistic interpretation of the play, but his menacing turn as Elle's grandfather in a flashback is on point.
Myles Waddell and Wendy Lanham are the standouts as married farm workers Carlo and Guila respectively. There relationship is perfectly believable and the mix of Waddell's sensitive Carlo and Lanham's feisty Guila adds great energy to the production.
The Poor Kitchen is only playing for a few more days, so be sure to make your way to Limelight on Oxford before the season closes.