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Senior Moments - Playhouse Theatre QPAC

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by John Andrew (subscribe)
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Nostalgia de luxe

It did occur to your ageing reviewer as he looked around the audience that if a cataclysmic event were to overtake the Playhouse Theatre, the government would save a small fortune on aged care payments.

Arriving uncharacteristically early we had the time to peruse the audience and the program, which gave a good sense of what was to come, with bon mots and quizzes focusing on the challenges and idiosyncrasies of the increasingly crabby Senior Citizens, including a nod to our Head of State who "has had the same job for 65 years and her children have still not managed to get her to sell her house and move into a sensible retirement home". Add to that an advertisement for "Prince Philip Uber A Ride you Won't forget" and you get the picture.

And, whether or not we want to admit it, we (the ageing) were right up there on the stage, whether as the alleged expert on Altzeimers who herself displayed all the signs of it, or the person going into the kitchen sure that they must have had a reason for going there but not at all sure what it was.

The main cast is more than qualified to be there: we would have come just to see Benita Collings, who guided our children and possibly our grandchildren through Playschool. Slim and elegant as always, we mildly regret that she now has beautifully coiffed grey hair. Two portly gentlemen John Wood and Max Gillies show that they have still "got it" on the stage, and few can handle a close to the edge, politically incorrect double entendre better. Missing alas, as a casualty to the grim reaper so often alluded to in the show, was Geoff Harvey - though Simon Tedeschi, looking like a child of barely thirty years, stole the show with keyboard moves that Russ Conway would have envied and if you don't know that name you shouldn't have come to the show!

So what do we get? A lot of song and dance. A re-worked tribute to the Seekers (The Finders), "Old School" a cleverly revamped "Play School" (and probably the highlight of the show).

Would it be heresy to suggest that while some of the humour was clever, and all was very professionally delivered, we had rather too much mention of impending death, and that, as particularly the men were superb comics and not quite so superb singers, it would have been a better show with more sketches and less singing?

That said, the fact that this is the troupe's third time on the QPAC stage, and that they were drawing capacity audiences, suggests that they may well have found their niche market the sufficiently ambulatory and cerebrally competent elderly (and their carers) who love to see the performers they have loved for so long still able to woo an audience and press the appropriate memory triggers.

Nostalgia is precisely what it used to be down this particular memory lane.

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Why? Nostalgia as it used to be
When: 1 - 12th May
Where: QPAC Playhouse
Cost: $55 - $75
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