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All Sorts - Darlington Theatre Players

Reviewed by Jordan D'Arcy

 

Marloo Theatre’s One Act season this year – aptly named All Sorts – includes three totally different plays, with 23 cast members between them.


When one thinks of one-act seasons, one usually expects minimal resources, especially when it comes to set as it has to be swapped out for each play. The sets for these one-acts were very intricate and well thought out. Of particular note were the working lighthouse for "Wickie on the Wind", and the incredibly realistic-looking 1960's 1960s-era Ford ute in "One Lane Bridge."


It is unusual for a one-act play to have more than a few cast members, but "Too Many Daughters", directed by Taneal Boydell, has what feels like an infinite number of daughters on stage. The script is a farcical parody of classic Jane Austen tropes – for starters, there is a very distinguishable Lizzie Bennett-esque character (Henrietta Ashworth played by Evie Madeleine, who was every bit an Austen heroine). There is also the awful, ill-matched, suitor cousin (Gavin Crane as Alistair Blackwood) and his sister (Gwendolyn Blackwood played by Sophie David), both of whom made me feel slimy; very well done.

"Wickie on the Wind", written and directed by Chris McRae, is based on a real lighthouse keeper, John Reddin, who lived and worked in the lighthouse at Point King in Albany in the early 20th century. The sound design for "Wickie on the Wind" was excellent – one felt transported to a cold and blustery bay in Albany. There were a few moments where the soundscape was too loud for the actors to project over but otherwise was very atmospheric. Harper Ranger as Elsie Reddin was very endearing in her community theatre debut.


"One Lane Bridge", directed by Adam Giltrow and assistant director Ellien van der Warden, was fairly simply staged but made good use of the space. The whole story is told over the duration of a car trip, and so the actors were mostly stationary, albeit for the narrators and additional characters joining the action as if walking through the brush. The revolves on either side of the stage with trees and road signage constantly rotating, along with the use of orange moving lights to give the illusion of driving along a road at night under streetlights, cleverly creating movement in the space. The only negative to the revolves was that there were times when they were moving at different paces, which somewhat undermined the illusion of steady movement of the car.


It was clear that all three plays had been well thought out and all the actors had been given clear direction. There were a couple of opening night jitters and tech issues (solved at intermission), but overall all three plays were fantastic – one-acts can often be harder to bring together successfully than a full-length play and not one of these productions missed their mark.


Grant Malcolm and Harper Ranger in "Wickie on the Wind". Image Credit: Sean Breadsell Photography

Editor Note: Jordan has previously performed at Darlington Theatre Players, and has worked directly with several members of the cast/crew. Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.

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