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‘Holly and Ivy’ by Noel O’Neill presented by Shanghai Lil Productions Inc


Catriona Coe - TangledAfter a few years of living down in London, Holly (Catriona Coe) returns to the family home in Edinburgh to celebrate Christmas with her older sister, Ivy (Sandra Sando) after the death of their mother.  The siblings take the passing of their mother in very different ways.

This play is beautifully constructed, the dialogue is rich and the story threads constantly twist to reveal yet another vivid layer.  This is a smoothly directed production with the actors giving a natural flow and realism.  The performances were stunning.

(Excerpts from Review post - Theatre Australia)

 

 

 

 

‘Jigsaws’ by Jennifer Rogers presented by The Irish Theatre Players


Catriona Coe - JigsawIt is Christmas Day 1988 at Grandma’s house.  Aunt Pat (Marian Byrne) is tackling her unwanted gift – a jigsaw!  She is chatting with her niece, Alex (Catriona Coe) whilst the men and children – whom we never see – are in the garden playing cricket.  The couple are obviously very close and a frank natter ensues.  Alex’s sister, houseproud Monica (Denice Byrne), cleans up the festivities mess, complaining about the clutter as goes along, but is this the real reason for her mental distress?  Alex has moved into a flat in Melbourne with her new GP partner, but despite being 29, is waiting for the right time to tell her mother Sylvia.  Sylvia (Judy Walsh) is a narrow minded, head-in-the-sand prude, who wants to have Grandma (Ann Barker) committed, or at the very least placed in care, so that she can sell the family home.

The craic soon turns sour as indiscretions are revealed.  There are a couple of heart-tearing scenes when a paper tissue would have been handy. 

Director Margriet van Tuyll has made the whole two and a half hours of acting visually interesting, riveting and genuine.  The flow of the movements was totally natural and the superbly written dialogue, with 5 very different characters, was a joy.  The story, whilst tackling several difficult topics, was filled with plenty of fresh humour.

This is one of the best teams of actors that I have seen in some time – professional or community.  The delivery was flawless, filled with passion and splendid observation.  A total joy to watch.  An absolutely magnificent show.

(Excerpts from Review post – Theatre Australia)

 

'The Children's Hour' by Lillian Hellman presented by Stirling Players Inc


Catriona Coe - The Children's HourThe Children's Hour is a cautionary tale of how little lies can turn into big issues. A troublesome little girl at a boarding school (set in England for this production) fashions a story about two of the headmistresses. Her lie causes a major negative impact on the lives of these women.

I really enjoyed Catriona Coe's performance as Martha. She got more and more distraught as the lies escalated, and presented an emotionally powerful performance.

(Excerpts from Review post – Theatre Australia)

 

 

 

'The Weir' by Conor McPherson presented by The Irish Theatre Players


Every now and again one sees something, in the theatre, that is memorable. This was the case with the Irish Theatre Players production of The Weir. They are to be commended – they got it just right. From the opening scene set in a country pub in Ireland the atmosphere was spot on. What is The Weir about, very little if you take it at face value but the whole gamut of human emotions and behaviour and the consequences if you delve. Like all Irish life it's the minor keys carry the melody.

It is very difficult to hold an audience in the palm of your hand when the script calls for an Irish restraint and this cast did it magnificently. The shuffle of the paper, the little cough, the uncomfortable twitch, the monosyllabic reply were all worked beautifully. Conor McPherson, the writer, knows his Irish Pubs and as the evening broadens out and 'the drink' loosens tongues the various characters emerge. The man with the mammy "going rapidly downhill" for the last ten years. The local man made good who is fair game for a few malicious digs. The barman with the colourful vocabulary who is heart scalded from the sisters, the nervous young woman introduced into the male enclave and in the corner, behind his paper, 'the strong man' superbly played by Frank Glackin.

I liked everything about this production; there wasn't a wrong note anywhere. The cast gelled together well, the interaction was comfortable and assured and you could hear a pin drop with that really creepy story – good man, I could hardly breath!

I saw The Druids production of this play some years ago and in my opinion the Irish Theatre Players production was every bit as good and maybe even better for atmosphere, clarity, setting and most difficult of all – Irish restraint. Congratulations to Pat Abbott. I have a great and urgent need now to get me to an Irish Pub in the hills somewhere – it has been too long.

(Review from The Irish Scene, WA)