REVIEW: Hoy Polloy & Baggage Productions Present RHONDA IS IN THERAPY

Moving and masterful cast performance

By Myron My

Rhonda Is In Therapy by Bridgette Burton is the latest production from Hoy Polloy Theatre Productions and deals with a young mother’s grief and loneliness since the tragic passing of her child.

The four actors all find the subtleties of their characters and flesh them out into life. Jamieson Caldwell as the naïve young student who begins an affair with Rhonda brings a sense of innocence to the proceedings, which is a great contrast to Kelly Nash’s therapist who subtly attempts to break down the defensive wall created by Rhonda.

Louise Crawford is brilliant as Rhonda, a mother who can’t let go of the guilt that is eating her inside. The scenes showing Rhonda at different periods of her life when things were more happy and simple, and then switching to the present with all her emotional conflict, are compelling to watch. Ben Grant’s portrayal of a loving and supportive husband who is quietly struggling to keep it all together for his family is superb and made him the shining star of this production.

The subtle comedy still implicit in pain and human suffering is captured beautifully here and there are some truly honest moments presented; the scenes between Rhonda and her therapist boast some sharp and witty dialogue. However, Rhonda Is In Therapy could have done with some tightening, especially towards the end. There were a few scenes that didn’t add much to the story and slowed proceedings down a little.

The other minor downfall was the scenes that involved the ‘children’. The performers would “imagine” the child being present as voiced by one of the other actors. At times, there were voice recordings played which had the dialogue of both the adult and child. Both these devices really detracted from the intimacy the play was striving for, and reminded the audience that they were in fact watching a performance and not something that was otherwise powerfully real.

Despite these issues, Rhonda Is In Therapy is a thoroughly engaging performance piece with some stellar acting from its four stars.

Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane.

Season: Until 23 September| Tues to Sat 8:00pm, Sun 5:00pm

Tickets: $40 Full | $35 Conc

Bookings: 03 9662 9966 or www.fortyfivedownstairs.com

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