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Full Circle - Wanneroo Repertory

Reviewed by Kate O'Sullivan


This latest show from Barry Lefort is a re-staging of a comedy-drama that explores a family’s current relationship problems that result from a single decision taken forty-some years earlier. Barry previously staged this play in 2020, at Stirling Theatre, and has brought it back again with a new mix of cast at the Limelight Theatre.

Barry has brought some cast members from his previous rendition and added some new faces for this show. Gordon Park, reprising his role as Brian, gives us a laid-back, charismatic father as the character that is the audience's window into the events. Both Karin Stafford and Ann Speicher, as Millie and Dee respectively, give solid but contrasting mothers and their reconciliation scene was well worth the wait towards the end of Act 2. Gareth Bishop should also be commended for his portrayal of Wills, treading that fine line of camp while feeling realistic. There are a few moments of characters upstaging themselves and a bit of a tendency from some actors to cling to the edges of the room rather than taking the more brightly lit centre stage but this doesn't disrupt the flow of the show.

There is a distinct ease in the performances from those actors who have portrayed their roles before, feeling very settled and comfortable with their interactions and character relationships. However, there was a bit of a disconnect between these actors and some of the recast roles. Karin and Anne should be commended for their excellent, consistent accents that added depth to their characters. However, there was a lack of consistency in accents across the characters, with accents ranging from strongly Australian to bordering on West Country. Additionally, the familiarity and affection you expect between the married couple, or a father and daughter, aren't always present. These moments happened occasionally, such as during Brian and Nicola’s discussion of the wedding plans, but it seems not enough attention has been given to these elements, as opposed to other more comedic or dramatic moments.

From a technical side, the show is solid and aesthetically cohesive. The costuming works well for the performers, with changes of costume that felt like they came out of the same wardrobes. The initial costume choice for Wills is possibly the only exception, as it plays into a problematic stereotype almost too hard. The set works well and is what you would expect from a living room set for a sit-com-style show. There were some quite long scene changes when little seemed to change onstage, but this may tighten up as the run progresses. The lighting is minimal and realistic, with some nice lighting out through the windows of the set. It would have been nice to see a little more indication in the lighting of the passage of time, just to help the audience know when we move into the following day or later in the evening.

The script itself does feel oddly dated and has problematic elements. There is some blatant misgendering and dead-naming of a trans character who is central to the show's dramatic tension. This language continues throughout Act 2 and, even though Wills and Nicola attempt to educate and inform (which was a highlight moment of Erin Shay Horrigan’s performance as Nicola), it does feel off-putting in a show that is ostensibly set in the modern-day. This feels like an issue that needs to be considered by companies when shows are selected, to ensure that a show isn't reinforcing negative or outdated stereotypes or alienating members of the audience.

The script issues should not diminish the work that has been put in by the cast and creative team. You can feel the love that the cast and crew have for not just these characters but this style of show in general. The show was certainly enjoyed by the audience on the second night, with a lot of laughter and vocalised realisations as the show went along. The show runs until May 20th, with tickets through TazTix.

Ann Speicher (Dee) and Gareth Bishop (Wills)

Reviewer Note: Kate has previously performed with Wanneroo Repertory in 2011. Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.


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