The Kingfisher, written by British playwright, William Douglas Home, is a romantic comedy about a long lost love that is reignited after fifty years. Sir Cecil Warburton was a playboy until he met Evelyn Rivers in 1928 and fell instantly in love with her. A brief romantic courtship ensued with Cecil and Evelyn binding their love when they shared their first kiss under a beech tree. The following day Evelyn is discouraged to continue the courtship by an acquaintance who discredits Cecil's character and intentions. She leaves immediately for London and on the rebound accepts a marriage proposal to a man she's not in love with but finds amicable.
Evelyn & Cecil Image courtesy of Dan Ryan
Fifty years later, when Cecil hears that Evelyn's husband has passed away, he invites her to his home. Cecil had dealt with the loss of Evelyn by writing her a love letter in the form of a novel, which he called, Rosemary. The novel was a huge success and enabled him to purchase the land where the beech tree was…the place of their first kiss. He built a beautiful home and an outdoor setting next to the beech tree. This is where the play takes place.
Director, Nathan Schulz has done an exceptional job of presenting this romantic story. The stage setting was breathtaking and the attention to detail is to be commended. The visual presentation and props certainly enhanced my enjoyment of The Kingfisher. Schulz choice of cast was also to be commended. Although one would expect a butler's emotions to remain in check, Hawkins (Graham Scott) played the role with exaggerated comedic gestures which extracted quite a few laughs from the audience. I feel this approach worked on the basis that without the comedic relief this wordy play may have been a snooze.
Evelyn & Hawkins Image courtesy of Dan Ryan
On an emotional level, I felt it flat-lined between Cecil (Chris Hawkins) and Evelyn (Viviane Gian). Considering they had nursed their love for fifty years, there was little more than an exchange of words between them. Some tender emotion, touch or body language between them would have been more engaging to watch. Maybe it's a British thing to restrain ones emotions but on stage a little zest between them would have lifted spirits and equalised the attention that was mostly to Hawkins favour. It was not until the end of the play that we saw a burst of emotion from Cecil that made me sit up and pay attention. This exchange between Cecil and Hawkins was touching and masterfully played out. The performances given by each actor were excellent. Special moments were Evelyn's tipsy state, although I would have liked to have seen a vulnerable exchange between her and Cecil. Hawkins had many special moments that brightened up the play and kept the audience amused. Cecil's outburst was mesmerising and full of raw emotion.
Image courtesy of Dan Ryan
Between the beautiful stage setting, the fine acting and Schulz's direction to ensure there is ample movement to hold the audience's interests, The Kingfisher was a delight to watch. Superb lighting and sound enhanced the experience further and made you feel you were right there with them. There was obvious audience appreciation throughout, cemented by the hearty applause received on conclusion.
Image courtesy of Dan Ryan
Community theatre is intimate and special in its own way. I certainly appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into every production. Treat yourself to a night out at the theatre. It will enrich your mind in its own unique way.
Javeenbah Theatre is a small intimate, air-conditioned theatre located in Nerang. It is beautifully set up with tables and chairs al fresco where you can meet friends prior to the show and enjoy drinks and nibbles at the fully licensed bar. There is also comfortable seating indoors. Opening night tickets include a light supper after the show. You also have the opportunity to socialise and meet the cast and crew after each performance. Javeenbah is an Aboriginal word meaning 'The Meeting Place'.
I recommend you book in as early as possible, especially if you are planning to go as a group, as Javeenbah is a small theatre with limited seating.
The Kingfisher was performed at Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, QLD