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Precious Little Talent - Harbour Theatre

Reviewed by Jack Bengough


Precious Little Talent is the latest production from Harbour Theatre, this occasionally crude coming-of-age story sees two young adults from vastly different worlds meet through a shared love of an elderly man.

The play, originally written by Ella Hickson in 2009, has been adapted for the Camelot Arts stage in Mosman Park by director Ellis R. Kinnear. While some of the themes from the original script failed to resonate in the time and place of this production (e.g. Obama-era politics, the difference in lifestyle between citizens of the US and the UK), the script shines when it comes to the sharp and witty dialogue exchanged between characters. Great care was clearly taken on Kinnear’s part in adapting this dialogue to the stage, with the timing and delivery of these lines consistently being on point.

This dialogue is expertly wielded by cast members Mitch McAullay, Elysha Hayes, and Tom Rees. McAullay plays Sam, an American man who serves as the caretaker for Rees’ George. While sitting atop the roof of George’s New York City apartment building, Sam has an encounter with Hayes’ Joey, a British woman who later turns out to be in town to visit George, who just so happens to be her father. The accent work is generally solid between the three cast members, with each suitably portraying their respective characters' nationalities, however, in some moments where cast members are required to shout or speak at a rapid pace, their words became difficult to parse. McAullay and Hayes have excellent chemistry with one another on stage and individually play charming yet flawed characters who are always engaging to watch. Tom Rees is perhaps the standout of the show, as he deftly portrays a caring father figure slowly succumbing to dementia. It will definitely be worth keeping an eye on these cast members and what they choose to do next.

The performances are accompanied by some solid work from the show’s crew. The construction and design of the set from Kinnear and co at first left something to be desired, only for the barren walls and empty shelves to later be acknowledged by characters during the show! The furnishings present on the set—particularly the couch and radio—seemed ripped out of time for the show's late 2000s setting, which was very much befitting for the home of an elderly man, clinging on to the remnants of his own past. Lighting design by Rob Tagliaferri and sound design by Vanessa Gudgeon were both suitably minimal components of the show’s overall design, only doing what was necessary to enhance the action on stage without distracting from it.

Precious Little Talent is a lovely piece of modern drama that you can still catch through to the

25th of June.

Mitch McAullay (Sam), Tom Rees (George) and Elysha Hayes (Joey).

Reviewer Note: Jack has previously worked and studied with the director of this show, Ellis Kinnear. Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.



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